Normally the recovery of a single avian flu patient wouldn’t rate a separate blog entry, but since this is only the second human H5N6 case diagnosed - and the first one was fatal (see Sichuan China: 1st Known Human Infection With H5N6 Avian Flu) - the recovery of the 58-year old man diagnosed last December from Guangdong Province is not only good news, it is newsworthy.
(O-Vision) at 19:57 on January 30 2015
(Macau Radio News) Guangdong The first H5N6 bird flu patient rehabilitation, quarantine has been lifted. 59-year-old male patient, on March 4 disease, symptoms of fever and cough, followed by isolation and treatment in Guangzhou, was in critical condition. This is the first case in Guangdong, is also the world's first two confirmed cases of H5N6, the first case case patients from Sichuan, was the death last May. (Liang Shuting Huangcai Chan)
While H5N1 and H7N9 are probably still the two avian viruses of greatest concern, the avian flu field has been rapidly expanding the past few years. Over the past year four new avian viruses – H10N8, H5N8, H5N3 & H5N6 – have emerged, and we don’t have a good handle on how much of an impact they will ultimately have.
H5N8 has certainly shown the ability to travel well, having already shown up in Europe, North America and Asia, but so far it doesn’t appear to infect humans. H10N8 and H5N6 have only made a few appearances, but have infected and killed a handful of people.
How all of these viruses will interact (and evolve) is something we are going to have to watch closely over the coming months and years. For now, the good news is none of these avian viruses appears capable of transmitting efficiently from human to human, and they remain primarily a threat to birds and the poultry industry.