Guangdong’s string of H7N9 announcements continues today with a brief report of a 33 year-old man from Shantou who was diagnosed on the 9th, and is in critical condition.
2015-02-10 16:36:35 Ministry of Health and Family Planning | Views ( 34 ) | text background color:
Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province February 10 briefing, Shantou reported one case of H7N9 cases.
Patients Moumou, male, 33 years old, currently living Shantou area. February 9 diagnosed with H7N9 cases, the patient is currently in critical condition. In Shantou admitted to inpatient hospital.
Guangdong province has a population of 105 million people – three times more than the state of California – and with seasonal flu and other winter respiratory viruses common this time of year, it is likely that a good many H7N9 cases go undetected.
Those who are diagnosed are those who are sick enough to be hospitalized, which probably explains the high mortality rate among known cases.
Today Guangdong’s Ministry of Health and Family Planning also issued a seasonal influenza warning, reporting that flu cases are – as we’ve seen this past month in Hong Kong – ramping up. Based on the tone of this letter, it appears that Guangdong province is running few weeks behind Hong Kong in flu activity.
2015-02-10 15:33:02 Ministry of health family planning | :
As of February 9, 2015 2342 influenza cases were reported in the province, reported flu-like cases clusters of outbreaks, 14, of which 10 were H3N2 influenza a viruses, 2 were influenza b viruses, 1 for multiple influenza a viruses, 1 for non-influenza caused by influenza a virus.
Experts assessed that the two periods of high seasonal influenza than in our province, March-July and September-November, respectively. Our province has entered the active period of onset of seasonal influenza and gradually into the first peak, population mobility increased along with the holiday, community disease will gradually increase, influenza patients still be up. After the end of winter and the Spring Festival holiday, school collectives such as aggregation of outbreak events will increase.
Recently, the Hong Kong flu pandemic aroused social concern. According to the Department of Health's Center for health protection of Hong Kong announced on February 8, and continued to increase in the number of deaths due to influenza in Hong Kong so far this year, a total of 142 cases of death. In this regard, provincial health contact the Planning Commission has strengthened its communication with the Hong Kong authorities, joint control and outbreak response. Due to the influenza epidemic season of our province and the virus type changes and Hong Kong differ so far this year the province has not received any report of death due to the flu, the public need not panic.
As seasonal influenza tends to strike anywhere from 5% to 10% of the population each year, the next few weeks could see several million new flu cases emerge in Guangdong province. Most will undoubtedly be seasonal H3N2 or H1N1 (still active in Asia this year), but since most will be mild or moderate and not require hospitalization, relatively few will be tested for novel influenza.
Today Hong Kong’s CHP released their latest Avian Influenza Report (Volume 11, Number 6 (Week 6), and in it they provide a partial line-listing of recent H7N9 cases (n=54).
As we’ve seen previously, cases tend to skew heavily towards older males, with just 14 females (26%) in this list.
More striking yet is how few young children (< 10 years of age) have been reported infected with this virus, and those that are diagnosed tend to experience less severe disease.
There were only 4 (7%) reported in this latest list, none listed as critically ill. This under 10 age group represents roughly 11% of China’s total population. In comparison, 34 of the 54 cases listed (63%) were 55 or older, an age group that only comprises about 20% of China’s population.
Admittedly, since exposure to birds (usually at live markets) has been cited as the primary source of infection, it seems likely that adults have more opportunities to be exposed than do young children. And co-morbidities (including smoking) in older patients could account for some of the disparity in outcomes.
But the demographics remain heavily skewed.
And it is curious that, unlike the H5N1 avian flu virus - which has shown a decided predilection for the young over the years – H7N9 continues to show a strong preference for predominantly older, male victims.