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Modelling Reveals Likely Spread of New H7N9 Avian Flu 102

ananyo writes "With Taiwan announcing the first case of H7N9 avian flu outside mainland China, researchers have revealed how the virus may spread in China — and beyond. The projections use risk maps developed for human infection by another, well-established avian flu — H5N1. Indeed, when human cases of H7N9 are overlaid on a risk map, they appear to fall within the highest risk areas for H5N1. The map suggests that high-risk areas for H7N9 might include Shandong province (where the first case was reported 23 April) and a belt extending around the Bohai sea to Liaoning province in the north. Though there has been no evidence of sustained human-to-human spread of H7N9 so far, researchers have analyzed airline passenger data for China. Eastern China — the epicenter of the current the H7N9 outbreak — is one of the world's busiest hubs for airline traffic. From the Nature story: 'A quarter of the global population outside of China lives within two hours of an airport with a direct flight from the outbreak regions, and 70% if a single connecting flight is included.'"

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