US agents are hunting for the origin of the mysterious, deadly virus that swept through China in 2014

U.S. spy agencies are still trying to determine where a deadly, devastating virus that created a massive infectious outbreak of bird flu appears to have originated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Defense…

US agents are hunting for the origin of the mysterious, deadly virus that swept through China in 2014

U.S. spy agencies are still trying to determine where a deadly, devastating virus that created a massive infectious outbreak of bird flu appears to have originated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Defense Department and other federal agencies are busy chasing clues about the viruses, which could be linked to the deadly disease that caused hundreds of people to die in China between April and December of 2014.

It’s still unclear what caused the vast outbreak, though there are theories that it could have been introduced to feed chickens and ducks, or it could have been brought in by a contaminated shipment of livestock. Scientists believe the virus originated in East Asia, but it appears that the virus, which caused enormous death and destruction in the Zhejiang Province of China, had no established pathogenicity in any other region.

Scientists determined in March 2016 that a particular strain of avian influenza caused the massive outbreak of disease that infected sickened thousands and led to the deaths of hundreds of people.

Despite the mystery of the outbreak, scientists are still investigating whether the virus might have traveled to the United States from China. A CDC report released on Friday cited an abundance of viruses with RNA sequences from the H5N1 virus, which belong to the family of viruses that cause bird flu. However, it’s unclear from this report whether those viruses originated in East Asia or one of the United States’ dozens of trading partners.

The report also described a small outbreak of human infection from the H5N1 virus in the United States earlier this year that was not strong enough to infect a larger number of people.

While the H5N1 virus has killed more than 500 people worldwide, it rarely infects people. However, the outbreak in China showed that the virus can cause severe disease when transmitted to humans, leading to an advisory to people to avoid contact with poultry unless necessary.

The CDC cautioned that the virus in China posed an increase of risks for human infection.

“Because a relatively low percentage of people infected with the virus are hospitalized, there is limited data on the actual health and mortality consequences of infection with the virus,” according to the CDC report.

The virus is closely related to a more virulent strain of human flu that can lead to severe illness. Both viruses circulate in human populations, but the H5N1 virus is most similar to the human H5N1 viruses.

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