Chinese scientists report that ducks are the link between chickens and the H7N9 avian influenza virus that has so far sickened 133 people, resulting in 43 deaths. The study interpreted genetic data from 1,341 birds of various species as well as water and avian fecal samples from poultry markets. Additionally, the scientists identified a novel avian influenza strain, H7N7. "The discovery of a novel H7N7 lineage that can infect ferrets reminds us that even if H7N9 does not return, there are risks lurking amongst the great diversity of avian influenza viruses," the scientists wrote.
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