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Another bird flu – H7N9 and its potential economic effects

Learning of China’s recent cases of ‘bird flu H7N9’ immediately triggers chilling memories of the SARS outbreak of 2002-2003. Originating in southern China, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) infected over 8000 people internationally with an estimated fatality rate of 9.6%. Economically, the outbreak had wide-reaching effects, ranging from an understandable plummet in tourism to the near-desertion of cities’ transport systems, restaurants and stores (pharmacies excepted). With the death toll of H7N9 reaching the twenties at the time of this article’s publication, there are renewed fears of another SARS-type outbreak in China’s densely populated cities.

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