HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) - A new strain of bird flu is causing concern in Asia, with many wondering what the impacts could be here in the United States.
It's called H7N9 and it is a type of bird flu that's been around a while, but infected humans for the first time in March.
Through April, there had been 126 human cases with this virus, all, so far, in China. Most of the cases reported very serious illness, but so far the virus only spreads from bird to human and not between humans.
Over time, however, a virus can change the way that it's transmitted, and could potentially be spread between humans in the future. It is something scientists are studying very closely, says Carol Wojnarowski, an infection control nurse at Holyoke Medical Center.
"Volume of people becoming ill, what locations, what proximity to infected animals and then what have their family members or close contacts developed; that is a key focus," Wojnarowski said.
So far, concern here in the United States is low. Suspected cases have tested negative for H7N9, but we're reminded to always wash hands after touching animals, particularly if your travels take you to other countries.
While there isn't a vaccine yet, the CDC has confirmed that they will develop one if they feel it's needed.