|Credit HK CHP|
Hong Kong's Centre For Health Protection has published their latest weekly avian influenza report, and as was telegraphed on Friday by the NHFPC (see HK CHP Notified Of 27 New H7N9 Cases From The Mainland), today's report features the largest weekly tally of H7N9 cases since since the end of February.
After weeks of decline, recent outbreaks in Beijing, Tibet, Hunan, Hebei, and Sichuan have more than doubled this week's total over last week's (29 vs. 14).While the fragmented, sometimes conflicting, and often belated reporting coming out of China makes it difficult to discriminate between new cases and those already announced, reports over the weekend suggest this elevated level of activity continues.
At the same time, some provinces which had been reporting heavy H7N9 activity earlier in the year (Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu) are reporting fewer cases. Guangdong province, in particular, has been eerily quiet, not having reported a new case in over a month.
The flow of information from individual provinces to their NHFPC - and from there to outside agencies like Hong Kong's CHP - often involves considerable delays. Which means we can never be quite sure how current, or complete, the information we have really is (see The Skies Aren't They Only Thing Hazy In China).And of course, the standard caveat applies:
Since only those those ill enough to be hospitalized are generally tested, and H7N9 can produce a wide spectrum of illness - ranging from asymptomatic to severe - the actual number of infections is unknown (see Beneath The H7N9 Pyramid).Despite highly publicized concerns (see NPR: A Pessimistic Guan Yi On H7N9's Evolution) over recent, worrisome changes in the virus (see MMWR: Increase in Human Infections with Avian Influenza A(H7N9) In China's 5th Wave), H7N9 continues to show no signs of sustained or efficient transmission among humans, and the lack of recent imported cases into Hong Kong and Macao continue to reassure.
That said, this virus continues to evolve and it remains at the very top of the CDC's list of viruses with pandemic potential (see Updated CDC Assessment On Avian H7N9).
This week's full PDF report runs 9 pages, follow the link, as I've only included a few excerpts below:
Avian Influenza Report
Avian Influenza Report is a weekly report produced by the Respiratory Disease Office, Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health. This report highlights global avian influenza activity in humans and birds.
VOLUME 13, NUMBER 16
Reporting period: April 16, 2017 – April 22, 2017 (Week 16)
(Published on April 25, 2017)
1. Since the previous issue of Avian Influenza Report (AIR), there were 29 new human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) reported by Mainland China health authorities in Beijing (7 cases), Hunan (5 cases), Hebei (4 cases), Sichuan (3 cases), Shandong (2 cases), Zhejiang (2 cases), Anhui (1 case), Gansu (1 case), Guangxi (1 case), Jiangxi (1 case), Jilin (1 case) and Liaoning (1 case). Since March 2013 (as of April 24, 2017), there were a total of 1422 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) reported globally. Since October 2016 (as of April 24, 2017), 616 cases have been recorded in Mainland China.
2. Since the previous issue of AIR, there were no new human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6). Since 2014 (as of April 22, 2017), 16 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) were reported globally and all occurred in Mainland China. The latest case was reported on December 1, 2016.
3. Since the previous issue of AIR, there were no new human cases of avian influenza A(H5N1). From 2011 to 2016, 10 to 145 confirmed human cases of avian influenza A(H5N1) were reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) annually (according to onset date). In 2017, there have been so far two cases in Egypt.*