Whats in a number? A lot if you have the Bird Flu!

Bird Flu is all about letters & numbers.

The familiar H5N1 is in fact really a flu which should only be effecting birds, but seems to also grab a few humans every now and then.

If and when the H5N1 virus does mutate in to a human version of the virus (and starts the dreaded human pandemic) we will hear for the first time of the new deadly combination of the letters and numbers.  

Even now, there are lots of different kinds of bird flu out there.

In the news today is the H9N2 virus, a “milder form of bird flu” which has effected a nine-month-old girl in Hong Kong.

This is not the first time that this “milder virus” has been found in China, two girls and a boy were confirmed to have H9N2 in 1999 and 2003 respectively

A news item from the news.gov.hk, (the official source of Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) says that The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) is investigating a case of influenza A virus (H9N2) involving a nine-month-old girl, H9N2 is a mild form of avian flu.

Centre Controller Dr Thomas Tsang today said the Tseung Kwan O girl developed upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and a fever on March 4. She was admitted to United Christian Hospital on March 6 and discharged three days later. She has not travelled recently. However, she has gone to a Tseung Kwan O market with her family several times. Her family members have no symptoms but will have blood tests. The centre and the Food & Environmental Hygiene Department have sent staff to clean and disinfect their home.

Dr Thomas Tsang said two girls and a boy were confirmed to have H9N2 in 1999 and 2003 respectively.

That strain of the virus has been found in ducks and chickens for many years, however infection in humans is rare and usually milder than the potentially fatal H5N1 strain. “H9N2 differs from H5NI in a number of aspects, the most important being the severity of the illness,” he said.

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