The flow of H7N9 information out of Guangdong Province remains pretty steady, but sadly - the same cannot be said for the rest of Mainland China. Some provinces appear to have abandoned daily reporting, and instead release monthly figures in their epidemiological reports, others simply release batches of data at irregular intervals.
Most of the reports we do get are summations without the usual epidemiological details (age, gender, onset date, locations, exposures, etc.) that in the past have allowed us to chart, and cross-check, case reports.
As a result, we really can’t tell how this year’s H7N9 wave compares to last year’s. It is possible that fewer infections are being recorded this winter, but the irregular reporting by individual provinces this year makes it impossible to tell.
We’ve reports of six cases this morning. Five from Guangdong province, and 1 from Jiangxi.
At 16:07 on February 22, 2015 Source: Xinhua
Health and Family Planning Commission of Jiangxi Province February 22 briefing, Jiangxi Province, the new one cases of H7N9 confirmed cases. This case is the first two cases in Jiangxi 2015 H7N9 cases. Currently, the patient's condition is relatively stable, Nanchang is a hospital.
The 74-year-old male patient, live Xihu District of Nanchang. February 21, Jiangxi Province, Nanchang, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the patient specimens sent for review were identified as positive for H7N9 virus nucleic acid.
Health and Family Planning Commission of Jiangxi expert group based on clinical manifestations, laboratory test results, and epidemiology and other information, the diagnosis of this patient H7N9 cases. (Reporter Gao Hao Liang)
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (February 22) closely monitoring five additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) notified by the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province (GDHFPC), and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.
According to the GDHFPC, five male patients aged from 51 to 57 from Meizhou, Shantou, Jiangmen, Huizhou and Heyuan are hospitalised for treatment. Three of them are in critical condition, one in serious condition and one in stable condition.
To date, 582 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities, respectively in Guangdong (171 cases), Zhejiang (156 cases), Jiangsu (70 cases), Fujian (58 cases), Shanghai (45 cases), Hunan (24 cases), Anhui (17 cases), Xinjiang (10 cases), Jiangxi (nine cases), Shandong (six cases), Beijing (five cases), Henan (four cases), Guangxi (three cases), Jilin (two cases), Guizhou (one case) and Hebei (one case).
Despite the case tally provided at the end of these HK CHP reports, the actual number of H7N9 cases in mainland China is unknown, and believed to be far higher.
We know that H7N9 can produce a broad spectrum of illness, ranging from mild (or even asymptomatic), to severe and life threatening. Only those sick enough to be hospitalized, or monitored because they were a close contact of a hospitalized case, are likely to be tested for the virus.
We’ve seen estimates (see Lancet: Clinical Severity Of Human H7N9 Infection), that have suggested thousands (perhaps 10’s of thousands) of cases have gone undocumented, but the accuracy of these estimates is unknown.
Despite these gaps in our knowledge, thus far we seen no evidence to suggest the H7N9 virus is transmitting easily, or efficiently, between humans. Contact with infected birds remains the biggest risk factor.