Thursday, April 06, 2017

FAO H7N9 Update - Apr 5th


The FAO, like many other organizations and entities, is doing their best to track and make sense of China's 5th winter outbreak of H7N9 - hampered, like the rest of us - by fragmented and often belated reporting from the Mainland's authorities (see The Skies Aren't They Only Thing Hazy In China).

While their focus is primarily on avian flu's effect on livestock and the food supply, the FAO's (currently) weekly updates often provide more detailed information - even on human infections - than many other sites.

One of the data points in the FAO report I've not seen anyplace else is the map (see below) showing where the newly emerged HPAI strain of H7N9 has been detected in humans and in poultry.

Given how little we currently know about this HPAI H7N9 strain, over the coming weeks and months we'll be watching closely to see how well - and how far - the virus spreads geographically.

I've only excerpted this week's summary. Follow the link below to read and review the entire report.

H7N9 situation update

 April 2017, 17:00 hours; Rome

The next update will be issued on 12 April 2017

Information provided herein is current as of the date of issue. Information added or changed since the last H7N9 situation update appears in red. Human cases are depicted in the geographic location of their report. For some cases, exposure may have occurred in one geographic location but reported in another. For cases with unknown onset date, reporting date was used instead. FAO compiles information drawn from multiple national (Ministries of Agriculture or Livestock, Ministries of Health, Provincial Government websites; Centers for Disease Prevention and Control [CDC]) and international sources (World Health Organization [WHO], World Organisation for Animal Health [OIE]) as well as peer-reviewed scientific articles. FAO makes every effort to ensure, but does not guarantee, accuracy, completeness or authenticity of the information. The designation employed and the presentation of material on the map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal or constitutional status of any country, territory or sea area, or concerning the delimitation of frontiers.


Situation: Influenza A(H7N9) virus with pandemic potential.

Country: China; three human cases originated in China and were reported in Malaysia (1) and Canada (2).

Number of human cases: 1381 confirmed; 501 deaths (since February 2013).

Number of new findings in birds or the environment since last update (29 March 2017): 1.

Number of new human cases since last update (29 March 2017): 20.

Provinces/municipalities: Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai and Tianjin municipalities; Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Qinghai, Shandong, Sichuan, Taiwan, Yunnan and Zhejiang Provinces of China; Hong Kong SAR; Macao SAR, Guangxi, Ningxia Hui and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regions; Sabah (Malaysia); British Columbia (Canada).

Animal/environmental findings: around 2,500 virological samples from the environment, chickens, pigeons, ducks and a tree sparrow tested positive; positives mainly from live bird markets, vendors and some commercial or breeding farms.

Highly pathogenic virus findings: Out of the 1381 confirmed human cases, H7N9 virus isolates from three cases (two from Guangdong and one from Taiwan Provinces) were found to be highly pathogenic for chickens. In addition, the H7N9 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus was detected in 16 chicken and 6 environmental samples from Guangdong Province and from a large farm in Hunan Province [reference].

Note:The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) have confirmed a H7N9 highly pathogenic (Tennessee), and a H7N9 low pathogenic avian influenza virus (Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky). Sequencing of the genome confirmed that they are of North American wild bird lineage origin. These viruses are thus not the same as the ones currently circulating in China. [reference1, reference 2, reference 3, reference 4, reference 5]

FAO actions: liaise with China and partners, monitor situation, monitor virus evolution, conduct market chain analysis, risk assessment, surveillance guidance and communication. 
         (Continue . . . .)

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