Congress, WHO sound the alarm over pandemic avian flu in China

Tom Howell Jr – April 21, 2017

House Republicans sounded the alarm Friday over an avian flu threat that’s cresting in China, saying it underscores the need to finish and vet an overdue plan for responding to pandemic flu at home.

The H7N9 avian influenza virus mainly affects people who have been exposed to live poultry. It has infected nearly 1,000 people in Asia, and had a 40 percent fatality rate since its discovery in 2013, though the latest spurt of cases has been worse than previous ones, according to the World Health Organization.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, Oregon Republican, and Rep. Tim Murphy, Pennsylvania Republican, say it is more important than ever to have a solid response plan in case the virus or other types of pandemic flu reach the U.S.