About Novel H7N9 Avian Influenza

Avian influenza viruses typically circulate among birds but have occasionally been found to infect humans. H7N9 viruses had never been found to infect humans until reported in China in March 2013. It still is not known why some influenza viruses present in animals are better able to infect humans than others.

How is it transmitted?

Data strongly indicates that most known human H7N9 infections derive from direct contact with infected poultry, or indirect contact with infected poultry. This particular virus does not appear to transmit easily from person to person.

Signs and Symptoms

The main symptom of H7N9 Avian Influenza is severe pneumonia. Other symptoms may include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.


If you suspect you may have been infected with this virus, call Student Health Service (215-746-3535) and discuss your symptoms with a healthcare provider. If necessary, influenza antiviral medications that may be effective against H7N9 are available.


Basic hand hygiene is essential in the prevention of H7N9 or any other influenza virus. Make sure to wash your hands well and often with soap before, during, and after you prepare food; before you eat; after you use the toilet; after handling animals or animal waste; when your hands are dirty; and after providing care to any sick individuals.

Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing! You should cover your mouth or nose with a tissue, sleeve, or elbow, not your hands.

How do I obtain a note for an excused absence?

Good news- it’s even easier now! For all undergraduates, the University of Pennsylvania is using the Course Absence Report system. It is an online tool where students can let their instructors know they will be out of class. The Course Absence Reports (CAR) are designed to provide a way for students to communicate with their instructors when medical issues, family emergencies, or other concerns necessitate missing class. Use a Course Absence Report to report your missed days.