H7N9 influenza is a subtype of influenza viruses that have previously been discovered in birds. It was first found in China in 2013. It is a zoonotic virus, which means it originated in animals but may spread to people. Exposure to live poultry, such as in marketplaces where birds are sold, has been connected to the majority of H7N9 influenza cases. 

Due to its propensity to evolve and transmit between people, the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated H7N9 influenza as a “public health hazard with pandemic potential.” The majority of H7N9 flu cases, however, have been sporadic, and there hasn’t been any persistent human-to-human transmission.


The symptoms of H7N9 influenza in humans can vary from mild to severe, and they can include the following:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pneumonia
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
  • Multi-organ failure


Typically, laboratory testing of respiratory specimens, such as nasal or throat swabs, is used to diagnose H7N9. Especially in places where H7N9 influenza outbreaks have occurred, healthcare professionals may suspect H7N9 influenza in patients who have respiratory illness symptoms and have recently come into close contact with live poultry or other animals.

Rapid diagnostic techniques for influenza may be used in addition to more specialized and sensitive laboratory tests like viral culture or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, which can yield results in 15–30 minutes. These tests can help identify the H7N9 virus from other respiratory diseases while also confirming the presence of the virus in respiratory specimens.


Early treatment with antiviral drugs, ideally within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, has the best success rates. These drugs can lessen the severity and length of an illness by inhibiting the influenza virus’s activity. Supportive care is crucial for the management of H7N9 influenza in addition to antiviral drugs. Hospitalization, oxygen therapy, mechanical ventilation, and the management of secondary bacterial infections may all be part of this.

Research is ongoing to develop H7N9 influenza vaccines and other treatments. Meanwhile, it’s crucial to take precautions to stop the virus from spreading, like avoiding contact with sick people, maintaining good cleanliness, and staying away from live poultry or other birds in places where H7N9 outbreaks have occurred.

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