|Credit FAO - May 4th|
Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) normally receives, and publishes each Friday, an update from China's NHFPC on the past week's H7N9 activity on the Mainland. Yesterday, while that report did not appear, FluTrackers picked up a Xinhua report stating (without offering details) that there were 24 new cases last week in China.
This morning Hong Kong has published their report, and while a day late and 2 cases short, it provides us with some additional details on theses cases.The HK report of 22 cases doesn't mention either of the two Shaanxi cases reported over the past three days (see H7N9 : Hebei Heats Up, Shaanxi Reports 2nd Case), which may account for the discrepancy. It does, however, report 7 new cases in Hebei - one more than we had reported yesterday.
It also reports 6 more cases in Sichuan Province - a region that had never reported H7N9 until 3 months ago, but as of Tuesday had confirmed 22 infections . Today's report should boost that number to 28.
By early May we are accustomed to seeing H7N9 cases slow to a trickle, and pretty much end for the summer in June (see FAO chart at top of this blog).
While summer may still offer China a much needed respite this year, there are growing concerns the H7N9 virus is becoming more heat tolerant (see Eurosurveillance: Preliminary Epidemiology & Analysis Of Jiangsu's 5th H7N9 Wave) - which, if true - could see the virus eventually become more of a year round threat.
As we've documented repeatedly over the years (see here, here, here, and here for just a few), the H7N9 virus continues to evolve and diversify, and there are now dozens of genotypes, spread across at least two lineages, circulating in China.
Additionally, an HPAI version of the virus emerged earlier this year in Guangdong Province. The most recent FAO update reports the HPAI version has now spread to 4 provinces; Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hunan.This growing diversity among H7N9 viruses means the behavior of the virus in one region may not exactly match the behavior of the virus somewhere else. While H7N9 continues to show no signs of sustained or efficient transmission among humans, the complexity of China's H7N9 epidemic grows greater each year.
Excerpts from today's HK CHP report follow:
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (May 6) is monitoring notification from the National Health and Family Planning Commission that 22 additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9), including eight deaths, were recorded from April 28 to May 4, and strongly urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.
The 14 male and eight female patients, aged from 26 to 82, had onset from April 14 to 29, of whom seven were from Hebei, six from Sichuan, and one each from Anhui, Beijing, Chongqing, Gansu, Guangxi, Henan, Hubei, Hunan and Jiangsu. Among them, 17 were known to have exposure to poultry, poultry markets or mobile stalls.
Travellers to the Mainland or other affected areas must avoid visiting wet markets, live poultry markets or farms. They should be alert to the presence of backyard poultry when visiting relatives and friends. They should also avoid purchase of live or freshly slaughtered poultry, and avoid touching poultry/birds or their droppings. They should strictly observe personal and hand hygiene when visiting any place with live poultry.
Travellers returning from affected areas should consult a doctor promptly if symptoms develop, and inform the doctor of their travel history for prompt diagnosis and treatment of potential diseases. It is essential to tell the doctor if they have seen any live poultry during travel, which may imply possible exposure to contaminated environments. This will enable the doctor to assess the possibility of avian influenza and arrange necessary investigations and appropriate treatment in a timely manner.
The public may visit the CHP's pages for more information: the avian influenza page, the weekly Avian Influenza Report, global statistics and affected areas of avian influenza, the Facebook Page and the YouTube Channel.Ends/Saturday, May 6, 2017Issued at HKT 12:10