H7N9 Bird Flu has been detected on a small chicken farm in Mertola Portugal; All individuals who had interactions with the birds are under medical observation.
The information currently being released indicates that the Portuguese strain of H7N9 has 78% commonality with the Chinese version of H7N9. It is unknown if the Mertola version is deadly to humans.
It is important to know that Portugal has strong cultural ties to China via Macau (a former coloney).
The primary air route between Macau and Portugal is Hong Kong to Dubai to Lisbon. However, given the genetic differences the infection is probably not related to human air travel. But, the infection may be related to bird migration from China.
Migratory flyways and bird habitats do make the transfer of H7N9 from China to Portugal possible. Its likely that such a conection has more than one degree of freedom, and as such would explain the drift in the strains.
If that is the case, it would mean the potential for more closely related H7N9 in migratory points between Portugal and China. As such, we consider this an Alert worthy posting.
(h/t for sparking our look into the situation) Dave Roberts