Ohio Doctors Keeping Close Eye on Bird Flu in China
Updated: Monday, April 8 2013, 07:22 PM EDT
COLUMBUS -- A new strain of bird flu in Eastern China has Ohio health officials on high alert.
Officials suspect the new strain, which normally spreads from bird to bird, can now infect humans as well. Twenty-one people have been confirmed to have contracted the illness; 6 have died.
As reports of more cases are announced in China, health officials in Ohio are working to determine the potential threat posed by the virus to people in the Buckeye State.
"How big is the threat? Well that's... we don't know." said Dr. Richard Slemons, a professor of Veterinary Preventive Medicine at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the latest strain of bird flu, Dr. Slemons doesn't think central Ohioans have much to worry about at this point, thanks to lessons learned from a similar illness a decade ago.
"We've learned from h5n1 Avian virus from 2003, and we're trying to anticipate what this virus will do to control and eradicate the virus more quickly."
Slemons told ABC 6/FOX 28 there is no current evidence indicating the virus can be spread from human to human.
Reporter: Terri Sullivan
Web Producer: Ken Hines