The emergence of avian influenza A(H7N9) virus in humans has public health authorities around the world on high alert for the potential development of a human influenza pandemic.1 As of May 8, 2013, authorities had identified 131 confirmed cases and 32 deaths among residents of 8 provinces and 2 municipalities in China.2
Three primary scenarios exist for how this A(H7N9) virus outbreak will unfold. First, the virus could disappear in the animal reservoir, ending new human cases. Second, the virus could persist in the animal reservoir, resulting in sporadic human infections. Third, the virus could, through mutation or reassortment, become readily transmissible between humans, resulting in a global pandemic.
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