While China now tends to notify us of H7N9 cases in large batches - often weeks after the fact (see Hong Kong CHP Notified Of 19 Additional H7N9 Cases On Mainland) - Guangdong province, due to its close proximity to and trade relations with Hong Kong, is generally pretty good about notifying the CHP in real time of new avian flu cases.
Today they have notified the HK CHP of three new cases.
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (February 18) received notification of three additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) from the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.
The three patients, all with underlying illnesses, comprise a 60-year-old woman who lives in Chaozhou, a 59-year-old man who lives in Jiangmen and a 76-year-old woman who lives in Zhaoqing.
"H5 and H7N9 avian influenza viruses can cause severe infections in humans. Due to the seasonal pattern, our risk assessment shows that the activity of avian influenza viruses is expected to remain at a high level in winter months. Human H5N6 and H7N9 cases have been recorded in the Mainland since this winter. Locally, birds positive for H5N6 were also detected this winter. The public, particularly poultry traders, travellers and those who may visit the Mainland, should be highly alert. Do not visit poultry markets and farms. Avoid poultry contact. We will continue to monitor the regional and global disease situation," a spokesman for the CHP said.
From 2013 to date, 707 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities.
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Although the number of H7N9 cases reported by China since October is less than the past two winters, the lack of openness on the part of the Chinese government over the past 12 months makes comparisons difficult.