Three cases of H7N9, a type of avian influenza virus, were first reported by the World Health Organization on April 1, 2013. This type of influenza is now being identified in several people in China. Their symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, although most cases have developed severe pneumonia and breathing difficulties, some resulting in death. While additional occurrences in China will likely be confirmed, no evidence to date shows person-to-person transmission. Instead, at this early stage in the investigation, it seems people are getting sick from close contact with infected birds. There are no cases of human illness in Canada, and this particular strain of the virus has not been detected in birds in Canada — which means, the risk of Canadians catching this virus is low (Public Health Agency of Canada).
The following resources include more detailed and up-to-date information on H7N9 for the public and health-care professionals. It is important for nurses to be current with their knowledge and practice in infection control to protect themselves, their families and those they care for.
Related links for updates
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- Community and Hospital Infection Control Association — Canada
- World Health Organization
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention