From Hong Kong’s CHP we’ve notification of the third known (and 2nd fatal) infection with the recently emerged H5N6 virus.
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) has been notified by the National Health and Family Planning Commission of a confirmed human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) today (February 9) affecting a 44-year-old man in Yunnan province.
The patient, with poultry exposure history, has developed fever, cough and chills since January 27. He was admitted to a local hospital on the same day and died on February 6.
"All novel influenza A infections (including H5N6) are notifiable diseases in Hong Kong," a spokesman for the DH said.
"Locally, we will remain vigilant and work closely with the World Health Organization and relevant health authorities to monitor the latest developments," the spokesman said.
"In view of cases confirmed on the Mainland, members of the public should maintain good personal, food and environmental hygiene at all times during travel," the spokesman urged.
In November of 2014 in FAO-EMPRES Report On The Emergence And Threat Of H5N6, we looked at an analysis of H5N6, and other recently emerged avian flu viruses in China. The previous month, in China: H5 AI Rising, we looked at 24 recent detections of H5N6 across China.
These poultry outbreaks, and this most recent human case, put much of H5N6’s activity uncomfortably close to China’s border with Vietnam, Laos & Burma (Myanmar). Vietnam has previously reported some scattered H5N6 outbreaks in poultry.
While H5N6 doesn’t appear to be spreading with the speed and efficiency of H5N8, it is another avian virus worthy of our attention.
One that – unlike H5N8 – has shown limited abilities to infect and kill humans.