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Colds and flu

Updated 25 June 2013

Deadly H7N9 bird flu still a threat

A new and deadly strain of bird flu that emerged in China, but seems to have petered out, could reappear. Scientists warn against complacency.

A new and deadly strain of bird flu that emerged in China in February but seems to have petered out in recent months could reappear later this year when the warm season comes to an end -- and could spread internationally, scientists said.

"The warm season has now begun in China, and only one new laboratory-confirmed case of H7N9 in human beings has been identified since May 8, 2013," the researchers wrote in a study published in The Lancet medical journal.

"Continued vigilance and sustained intensive control efforts against the virus are need to minimise risk of human infection, which is greater than previously recognised," they wrote.

 

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Flu expert

Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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