Originally posted by rickymouse
why do they have to give names with numbers and names. Can't they call it the seagull flu or pigeon flu. That would be better for us regular people who have no interest in technical names.
Flu viruses are classified based on two types of protein found on their surface, hemagglutinin and neuraminidase, which are abbreviated to H and N.
Genetic sequence data on a deadly strain of bird flu previously unknown in people show the virus has already acquired some mutations that might make it more likely to cause a human pandemic, scientists say.
But there is no evidence so far that the H7N9 flu - now known to have infected nine people in China, killing three - is spreading from person to person, and there is still a chance it might peter out and never fully mutate into a human form of flu.
Just days after authorities in China announced they had identified cases of H7N9, flu experts in laboratories across the world are picking through the DNA sequence data of samples isolated from the patients to assess its pandemic potential.
"At the moment, we can't see where this virus is coming from. We don't know yet what animal source is feeding this."
Finding that source, and tracking the genetic mutations to see if, how and when this new strain might gain the ability to spark a human pandemic are now the priorities for researchers in China and around the world, Barclay and Osterhaus said.