The first human case of the H7N4 strain of avian influenza has been reported in China, Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection announced Wednesday.
Hold onto your butts (and tissues), folks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a press conference held Friday, announced that the current flu season is still raging, with no signs of letting up yet. Not only that, but assuming things hold, the flu could cause more illness than it has in nearly a decade, when two waves of a pandemic strain—the terrible swine flu of 2009—hit the U.S. throughout the summer and winter.
It’s difficult to explain exactly how it happened, but 386 New York City shelter cats have contracted a rare avian flu that had never before been seen in cats, and had not been seen in any animals at all in over 10 years.
There’s been quite a bit of attention focused on the microbiome. Back in 1988, it was defined as the community of all microbial living organisms within a particular habitat. But over the years, the scope of the term has contracted to mean for the most part only bacteria. It’s not really a surprise as most work to understand the microbial environment within each environment, including the human body, has focused on this one branch of the tree of life.