Researchers found versions of H7N9, a pathogenic bird flu strain and H7N2 viruses in ducks in the Fujian province of China.
Pathogenic viruses have long time infected hens and proven particularly deadly to people. The versions of H7N9 and H7N2 viruses are highly pathogenic, researchers vaccinated the chickens from the deadly strain of the virus. However, researchers have discovered that the same strain of viruses infecting chickens, have now been found in ducks and infected it causing it to die immediately.
The findings were published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe on September 27, 2018. The findings have alerted health advisors and experts as this discovery came at a time when the deadly virus was completely checked with chickens by vaccination, the virus jumped to another avian species.
The strain H7N9 was highly active during 2013, and had infected about 1,625 people and out of which 623 died globally, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). Most of the infected people were exposed to poultry before acquiring the disease. However, the virus strand causing bird flu has turned deadlier in both people and poultry due to mutation in 2016.
The vaccine is able to protect chickens and humans, as found by the researchers in their study, and no human cases infected with H7N9 virus were reported since October 2017. However, ducks were not vaccinated as the original strand of the H7N9 virus did not infect it. The researchers are aiming to find solutions to stop the spread of the virulent strain to other poultry, wild birds, and people.