|Credit FAO - May 10th Update|
After seeing numbers decline in early April to fewer than 15 a week, H7N9 case reports from Mainland China have since increased (Wk 16=27, Wk 17= 17, Wk 18= 24), dashing hopes for an early end to this unprecedented 5th epidemic wave.
Although the reported date doesn't necessarily reflect the date of onset, as the FAO chart above illustrates, two weeks in and we are already at a record number of cases for the month of May.Today Hong Kong's CHP has been notified by the NHFPC of an additional 23 cases from the Mainland, with onset dates ranging from April 11th to May 6th. This lag in reporting isn't unusual, and given the logistics of testing and reporting in a large nation like China, is to be expected.
Once again, Hebei province - which reported 7 cases last week - is in the lead with 5 new cases. Henan, Shaanxi and Sichuan report 3 cases each. Beijing and Jiangsu each report 2 new cases, and Fujian, Gansu, Hubei, Tianjin and Zhejiang each report one.While cases remain widely scattered, we have seen a noticeable shift of activity to the northern half of China (Hebei, Beijing, Shaanxi, Henan, Gansu, etc.) over the past few weeks. Whether this is due to local climatic conditions, or perhaps a different lineage or strain of the virus in these regions, is unknown.
If this increased activity is weather related, a quick check shows Beijing to be in the mid-80s today, and forecast temperatures well into the 90s next week. It may take a few weeks, but arrival of summer may finally help dampen down cases for the summer.Some excerpts from today's HK CHP statement follow:
CHP notified of human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Mainland
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (May 12) is monitoring notification from the National Health and Family Planning Commission that 23 additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9), including seven deaths, were recorded from May 5 to 11, and strongly urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.
The 13 male and 10 female patients, aged 31 to 83, had onset from April 11 to May 6, of whom five were from Hebei; three each from Henan, Shaanxi and Sichuan; two each from Beijing and Jiangsu; and one each from Fujian, Gansu, Hubei, Tianjin and Zhejiang. Among them, 20 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.
While local surveillance, prevention and control measures are in place, the CHP will remain vigilant and work closely with the World Health Organization and relevant health authorities to monitor the latest developments.
The CHP's Port Health Office conducts health surveillance measures at all boundary control points. Thermal imaging systems are in place for body temperature checks on inbound travellers. Suspected cases will be immediately referred to public hospitals for follow-up.
The display of posters and broadcasting of health messages in departure and arrival halls as health education for travellers is under way. The travel industry and other stakeholders are regularly updated on the latest information.
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/Friday, May 12, 2017
Issued at HKT 17:40