Why We Should Pay Attention to Bird Flu This Year

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Bob Hallinan

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          Across China, the virus that could spark the next pandemic is already circulating. It's a bird flu called H7N9, and true to its name, it mostly infects poultry. Lately, however, it's started jumping from chickens to humans more readily--bad news, because the virus is a killer. During a recent spike, 88% of people infected got pneumonia, three-quarters ended up in intensive care with severe respiratory problems, and 41% died.

          In the video, Dr. Lee Norman, chief medical officer at The University of Kansas Health System says that what H7N9 can't do--yet--is spread easily from person to person, but experts know that could change. The longer the virus spends in humans, the better the chance that it might mutate to become more contagious--and once that happens, it's only a matter of time before it hops a plane out of China and onto American soil, where it could spread through the air like wildfire.