Perhaps the most reassuring sign we continue to see with H7N9 infections in China is that close contacts only rarely end up contracting the virus. Were the virus easily transmissible from human-to-human, those numbers would be much higher.
The virus continues to evolve, however, and so we always look to the latest epidemiology reports to assure that aspect of the virus hasn't changed.
While detailed epidemiological reports are rarely released (at least in a timely fashion) from the Mainland, Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection does an extraordinarily good job of keeping us informed on local cases.
Following yesterday's report of this year's 5th Imported H7N9 Case, they have published the following update.
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (March 8) reported an update on the fifth human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Hong Kong this winter.
Contact tracing has so far identified seven close contacts and 61 other contacts. All have remained asymptomatic.
The close contacts are the patient's home and ward contacts. They will be given antiviral prophylaxis with oseltamivir (Tamiflu) for five days, advised to wear a mask and put under medical surveillance for 10 days following their last exposure to the patient.
Other contacts include the patient's family member(s) and healthcare workers. They will be advised to wear a mask and put under medical surveillance for 10 days following their last exposure to the patient.
Ends/Wednesday, March 8, 2017Issued at HKT 17:30
The caveat to this continuing good news is there are numerous genotypes of the H7N9 virus circulating on the Mainland - now spread across two main lineages (Pearl River Delta and Yangtze River Delta) - and the behavior and characteristics of a virus exported from Fujian Province this week may not fully represent the threat from viruses circulating elsewhere on the Mainland.
So we continue to watch H7N9's evolution and progress closely.