Finches, parakeets and sparrows are the ultimate source of H7N9 avian influenza, a new study concludes.
More than 600 people have contracted H7N9 bird flu in China, and more than 200 have died. Most of the people probably caught it from infected chickens, but it hasn’t been clear where chickens pick up the virus.
In laboratory experiments, society finches spread H7N9 from their mouths into water when they drank, researchers report in the April Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Chickens and quail could then be infected by drinking that same water, the researchers found. The virus does not seem to spread between birds through the air.