This week the WHO announced that several people in eastern China are infected with a newly mutated bird influenza virus called H7N9. All are in critical condition and some have died… but importantly the cases don’t appear to be linked- meaning it’s probably not from human to human transmission (that’s good). The World Health Organization website has more detail including answers to some Frequently Asked Questions

Global Influenza surveillance is a key public health tool… because early warning gives the global public health system an opportunity to squelch the outbreak before it breaks loose and causes a pandemic. It also gives us a head start on interventions and planning.   BTW… in case you were wondering, the H stands for hemagglutinin and N stands for neuraminidase- which are proteins on the virus’s surface. The numbers stand for the kind of protein for each letter.