Although case reports remain widely scattered and sporadic, we continue to see new cases of H5N6 crop up infection in China. During its 1st 18 months of circulation (April 2014-Nov 2015), it was only diagnosed in 4 people.
But over the past six months (Dec 2015-May 2016), China has reported 11 new cases spread across 4 provinces.
In April Hunan Province reported their first case (see China Reports 2nd H5N6 Case in A Week), that of an 11 year-old girl from Lusong district, Zhuzhou city, who was said to be recovering after a serious bout of pneumonia.
Today Hunan Province reports their 2nd case, in a brief statement offered by their provincial CDC.
Hunan Diagnose H5N6 cases
Update Time: 2016-5-30
May 28, 2016, Hunan Diagnose H5N6 cases. Patients Tian Moumou, male, 50 years old, Xiangxi Autonomous Prefecture Guzhang County. When the disease in Jishou city workers, currently in critical condition, the hospital for treatment.
H5N6 avian-derived influenza virus is a virus, limited its ability to infect humans, there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission.
Over the past couple of months we've looked at the continuing evolution of H5N6 viruses (see Novel Reassortant H5N6 Viruses In Humans, Guangdong China and J. Virology: H5N6 Receptor Cell Binding & Transmission In Ferrets).
A little over a week ago the WHO released an assessment which noted not only the increase in human infections, but the ongoing evolution of the virus as well.
Avian influenza A(H5) viruses(Excerpt)
According to the animal health authorities in China 3,4 , influenza A(H5N6) viruses have been detected in poultry in recent months in many provinces in the country, including those reporting human cases. Recent publications indicate ongoing evolution of avian influenza A(H5N6) viruses through reassortment with other avian influenza viruses resulting in viruses with different internal genes. 5,6
To date, no changes in transmissibility in humans have been detected as a result of these reassortant 1viruses. Surveillance is continuing in both human and animal populations to monitor for further virus evolution. All recent avian influenza A(H5N6) viruses that have been tested remain susceptible to the neuraminidase inhibitor class of antiviral drugs.
While the overall case counts remain low, and we've seen no indication of human-to-human spread, this upward trend in cases is of concern, as are the detections of H5N6 in poultry in Vietnam and Laos, and the virus showing up in migratory birds in Hong Kong.
For more background on this emerging avian flu threat, you may wish to revisit some of these blogs from last year: