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Coronavirus on the Rise?
Potential Remains for MERS, H7N9 Pandemics, Experts Say
As the World Health Organization combats the MERS coronavirus, a new study provides more evidence that the H7N9 bird flu could return.
By Jeffrey Kopman,
Staff Writer, Everyday Health
TUESDAY, July 9, 2013 - An infectious disease being out of sight is hardly an excuse for it being out of the mind. The reemergence of the MERS coronavirus, which has killed 38 people, could further validate a new study,published in the journal mBio from the American Society for Microbiology, that claims the H7N9 bird flu strain could return.
Previous research had predicted that the bird flu could return as early as autumn, but the reason was primarily attributed to the seasonal activity of poultry, which increases in the winter. Researchers now believe that tracking the history of similar viruses can give even more information about the pandemic potential for the H7N9 strain.
A review of other H7 viruses in animal and human disease revealed that this strain is commonly formed in animals, and has the potential to spread to humans. Despite a current lull in the spread of the disease, the possibility remains that H7N9 can repeat the cycle and lead to a new spread of infection.
Researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases summed up their findings by warning people that there is no telling what will happen next, but that the virus can reappear at any time.