A little over a week ago, in China’s NHFPC: 5 H7N9 Cases & 4 Deaths For June 2015, Sharon Sanders of FluTrackers picked up a barebones mention in an EOM epidemiological summary of 5 H7N9 cases and 4 deaths during the month of June in China. Zero details were provided.
Today the World Health Organization has published an update, with a very brief description of 5 H7N9 cases reported by China between May 26th and June 18th, that appear to include some or all of the cases previously revealed. Unlike the report above from China’s NHFPC, they list only 3 deaths and two cases in serious condition.
Further muddying the picture, yesterday Hong Kong released a report (see CHP notified of additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Mainland) announcing only 4 cases (May 27th-June 18th), and again 3 deaths. It is possible that one of the deaths reported in the NHFPC statement was of a case from a prior month.
Since we haven’t been getting the normal line-listing of cases (with age, gender, location, onset date, and likely source of exposure) from China for many months, independent tracking of these cases (see FluTrackers H7N9 Case List) and their outcomes has become increasingly problematic.
As of yesterday, Hong Kong’s CHP lists:
From 2013 to date, 657 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities. Regarding the third wave in the Mainland since November 2014, a total of 217 cases have been reported including 72 in Guangdong, 45 in Zhejiang, 41 in Fujian, 22 in Jiangsu, 13 in Anhui, seven in Xinjiang, seven in Shanghai, three in Jiangxi, two in Hunan, two in Shandong, one in Guizhou, one in Hubei and one in Beijing.
The following update is published today by the WHO.
Disease outbreak news
18 July 2015
On 16 July 2015, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China notified WHO of 5 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus, including 3 deaths.
Details of the cases
Onset dates ranged from 26 May to 18 June 2015. Age of cases ranged from 58 to 77 years with a mean age of 66 years. All 5 cases were male. There were 3 deaths and the remaining 2 cases, at the time of report, were in severe condition. Every case reported exposure to poultry related environment. No clusters were reported. Cases were reported from 4 provinces and municipalities: Anhui (2), Jiangsu (1), Shanghai (1) and Zhejiang (1).
Public health response
The Chinese Government has taken the following surveillance and control measures:
- strengthen outbreak surveillance and situation analysis;
- reinforce all efforts on medical treatment; and
- conduct risk communication with the public and dissemination of information.
WHO is assessing the epidemiological situation and conducting further risk assessment based on the latest information. Overall, the public health risk from avian influenza A(H7N9) viruses has not changed.
Comparing with the previous two months, the infection case number is decreasing. Further sporadic human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) infection are expected in affected and possibly neighboring areas. Should human cases from affected areas travel internationally, their infection may be detected in another country during or after arrival. If this were to occur, community level spread is considered unlikely as the virus does not have the ability to transmit easily among humans.