Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mainland China Notifies HK Of 3 `Recent' H7N9 Cases


The fragmented and belated reporting of human avian flu cases out of China continues to frustrate, with today's announcement  from Hong Kong's Centre For Health Protection doing very little to alleviate the situation. 

The CHP reports they have been notified of 3 H7N9 cases from the mainland, but they provide no dates of onset (only ages, genders, and province) making it difficult to determine just how recent they really are. 

It seems likely that some (or perhaps all) of theses cases are from June, at least based on information already gathered by FluTracker's on their H7N9 Case list, which has pieced together reports on 7 cases and 5 deaths from last month. 

The one exception may be the case reported from Anhui province, although without more details, it is hard to say. 

Normally, we hope for WHO updates to fill in the blanks, but of late they have also lacked individual case details, and the last one issued was on May 17th, only covering cases through April 21st.

Out of all of this, what is apparent is that Hong Kong officials remain concerned over what they perceive as unusual warm weather activity of H7N9, which is usually very quiet in the heat of the summer.

This from HK's CHP:

CHP closely monitors three human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) on Mainland 
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (July 21) received notification of three additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) from the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

According to the NHFPC, the patients were a 61-year-old man in Jiangsu who had poultry contact, a 54-year-old woman in Anhui who had no poultry exposure, and a 52-year-old man who worked in a market in Zhejiang. The patient in Zhejiang has died while the remaining two cases are in a serious condition.

"H7N9 has become enzootic in poultry on the Mainland. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, from January 2015 to May 2016, poultry and environmental samples collected from markets in Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Shanghai and Zhejiang tested positive for H7N9. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations revealed that positive samples on the Mainland were mainly taken from live bird markets, vendors and some commercial or breeding farms," a spokesman for the CHP said.

"In view of additional human cases reported on the Mainland with detections of human cases in previously unaffected areas in warmer months, as well as the detections of positive sample of faecal droppings of live poultry in Hong Kong and positive environmental sample in Macao in June, the public should remain vigilant. Travellers to the Mainland and other avian influenza-affected areas in the upcoming summer vacation should not visit poultry markets, and should avoid contact with poultry and their droppings," the spokesman added.

From 2013 to date, 770 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities, while since October 2015 to date, 113 have been recorded.


Ends/Thursday, July 21, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:47

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