One of the concerns going into this busy 5th winter epidemic of H7N9 in Mainland China was how this year's Lunar New Year Holiday - often called the Spring Festival travel season - would affect the spread of diseases, including avian flu (see The CDC's Travel Advice For Lunar New Year's In Asia)..
With hundreds of millions of trips planned over this 40 day period - often aboard crowded buses and trains - public health officials in China, and around the world, are on higher alert for the possibility of seeing imported cases.While we don't have much data on this year's travel season, we do have the following report on an imported case in Yunnan Province - which had never reported an H7N9 case before - involving a child who visited Jiangxi Province over the New Year's holiday.
According to Hong Kong's most recent Avian Influenza Report, Jiangxi Province has reported 19 H7N9 cases during this winter's epidemic.
The child, age 3, reportedly died on Feb 7th. Close contacts are being monitored.
Yunnan Province confirmed case of imported H7N9 cases
[Index: 01510047-20170209-6800] Release Date: 2017-02-09
Yunnan Provincial Health and Family Planning Commission on February 9 briefing at present, China is in the H7N9 outbreak in the high season, Yunnan Provincial Health and Family Planning Commission to comprehensively strengthen influenza surveillance unexplained pneumonia. In monitoring, from one case to return by the Jiangxi Shangrao Yunnan severe cases detected H7N9 virus nucleic acid positive specimens were sent to China CDC review, consistent test results. According to expert consultation, clinical manifestations, laboratory results and epidemiological investigation, diagnosis of imported H7N9 cases.
Children, female, 3 years, 4 months, January 21 with his parents to the New Year in Jiangxi, history of exposure to live poultry, January 29 disease, treatment in the local February 1, February 5 from Jiangxi Shangrao back Yunnan, the first Affiliated hospital of Kunming Medical University for treatment, February 7 by fully died. At present, children are in close contact with the five families of H7N9 virus nucleic acid testing were negative, all close contacts did not appear abnormal, found no case of human transmission.
Ministry of Health and Family Planning Commission has asked the provincial disease control medical institutions at all levels to continue to increase monitoring efforts, and formulated and issued a medical technology program, be sure to enter epidemic timely detection and effective disposal.
While it is becoming impractical to blog each and every H7N9 case report, particularly given the fragmented and belated way data is being released, when a new province is involved or a sizable number of cases (as in my last post) are revealed, I'll continue to try to provide updates.
The reality is, we are almost certainly only seeing the tip of the iceberg, and so numbers of cases reported should always be taken with a sizable grain of salt.