Flu season just got a lot worse.

On February 28, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), announced Taiwan’s first human fatality from the H7N9 flu. The fatality was a 69 year old businessman who was on a business trip in China. After coming back from China on January 25, the victim sought out  medical attention and was soon hospitalized after being confirmed with the virus.

In spite of antiviral treatment, the flu strain within the patient developed resistance to the drugs. After a 27 day hospitalization, the victim passed away. “Although the medical team at the hospital’s intensive care unit and infection specialists tried their best to treat the patient, he unfortunately died of multiple organ failure,” states CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo.

The major cause of H7N9 outbreak is from eating infected poultry. Most of the patients from H7N9 has developed symptoms such as respiratory illness, mainly pneumonia, and has a high fatality rate of 40 percent. “Antiviral drug resistance developed during [the victim’s] treatment, as well as serious pneumonia and increased oxygen demand, which are known risk factors associated with H7N9 avian influenza deaths,” says Philip Lo. Even though the concern for H7N9 is currently low, Influenza Risk Assessment Tool (IRAT) has rated H7N9 to have the highest potential to cause a pandemic and pose a great threat to public health. Thus the CDC urges people to avoid contact with birds, maintain proper hygiene, avoid eating raw poultry or eggs and wear a mask.

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