CDC Director Frieden warns Lunar New Year in China may cause H7N9 pandemic

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden recently warned that the Lunar New Year may potentially lead to the next global pandemic due to the H7N9 avian influenza A virus.

It is expected that more than 3.6 million transit trips took place last week in China as part of the Lunar New Year celebrations, not including international trips. Frieden said that the amount of travel combined with the potential dangers of the avian influenza A H7N9 virus may lead to a pandemic, CNN reports.

"This combination of mass travel and an emerging virus such as this should underscore the connectedness of health security between countries," Frieden said, according to CNN. "Of course, H7N9 influenza is just one example of how the health security of all nations, including the United States, depends on the health security of each individual nation. And regardless of where outbreaks occur, stopping them at the source is the most effective and cheapest way to save lives at home and abroad."

Frieden recommended the U.S. and international organizations take the following steps toward controlling the potential pandemic - prevent avoidable epidemics through strong health policies and procedures, detect health threats early through effective disease tracking systems and respond immediately to emerging threats with emergency operation teams, CNN reports.

Frieden said that international health threats can affect the U.S. as well, so nations must work together on the whole to protect against emerging threats.

"It is increasingly clear that the health of other nations has a direct impact on the health of us here in the United States - infectious diseases do not recognize borders," Frieden said, according to CNN. "Improving global health security therefore saves American lives while boosting our international partnerships and increasing stability overseas".