H7N9 avian influenza is currently clinically inapparent in poultry but can be transmitted to susceptible humans in close contact with live poultry and their viscera.
Whole genome sequencing of H7N9 virus isolated in Guangdong Province of China has yielded evidence of a mutation which may make the virus pathogenic to chickens. The changes will apparently not allow the virus to pass between humans.
Between January 19th and February 14th, 304 laboratory-confirmed cases of H7N9 infection were reported with 36 fatalities according to the World Health Organization.
The presence of H7N9 has resulted in the closure of wet markets which are a source of infection for bird handlers and consumers. This has resulted in severe financial hardship for small poultry producers who are reliant on wet markets for their sales of culled hens.