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Brace for bird flu in the U.S.

Brace for bird flu in the United States, authorities told health-care workers on Thursday, as China announced 92 confirmed cases of the new, mysterious H7N9 strain of the illness.

Hospitals and clinics should be vigilant for people exhibiting flu-like symptoms who have traveled from China, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The CDC also issued on Thursday “interim guidance” regarding the use of antiviral drugs in treating the disease.

There is no vaccine available for this strain of H7N9 avian flu, the CDC said, although it cautioned that the measures it is taking are routine.

While there is little evidence the disease is easily transmitted from poultry to humans, experts are watching the new strain closely because of its sudden arrival.

Because the strain is considered “novel,” or non-human, the threat of pandemic remains high should the disease mutate and spread between people.

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