While significantly lower than reported for February (160 Cases & 61 Deaths) - and despite the concerted efforts of both local and national authorities to reign in this year's epidemic (see Chinese Premier Briefed On H7N9 - Urges Shut Down Of Poultry Markets) - the latest numbers released by China's NHFPC confirm that last month's H7N9 tally was at least triple that of any other March since the virus emerged in 2013.
Once a month, usually between the 10th and the 15th, China's NHFPC (National Health & Family Planning Commission) releases a bare-bones listing of the previous month's reportable infectious diseases across Mainland China.
These summaries are very short - with an attached list of over 3 dozen infectious diseases - providing only country totals, and number of deaths recorded.
With their 5th H7N9 flu season beginning in October, today's is the 6th report of this winter season, which are summarized below.
As a cut off date for this report isn't stated, and case reports from March may still be coming in, these numbers should be viewed as approximate, and subject to revision. Cases continue to be reported in April, albeit at a lower rate, so we are closing in on the 600 case mark.
Although a record number of H7N9 cases, there is nothing in these numbers to suggest sustained or efficient transmission of the virus.
That said, and as discussed in some detail yesterday (see NPR: A Pessimistic Guan Yi On H7N9's Evolution), there are deeply concerning signs that H7N9 continues to evolve in ways that may make it more difficult to contain or control.
The (translated) text and a modified (highlight mine) excerpt from today's NHFPC report follows:
March 2017 National Overview of legal infectious diseases
March 2017 (at 0:00 on March 1, 2017 to March 31 24), the country (excluding Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, the same below) reported a total of 544,132 cases of legal infectious diseases, the death of 1589 people. Among them, Class infectious disease plague, cholera no morbidity, mortality reports. B infectious SARS, diphtheria, polio and no human infection with highly pathogenic avian influenza morbidity, mortality report, the remaining 22 infectious diseases were reported incidence of 325,791 cases, 1579 people died. Five of the disease before the reported incidence were viral hepatitis, tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea, and bacillary and amoebic dysentery, accounting for 95% of the total reported cases of class B infectious diseases.
Over the same period, Class C infectious diseases filariasis morbidity, mortality report, the remaining 10 infectious diseases were reported incidence of 218,341 cases, 10 people died. The former three diseases were reported incidence of other infectious diarrhea, hand-foot-mouth disease and influenza, accounting for 90% of the total reported cases of class C infectious diseases.