|5 Waves Of H7N9 - Credit FAO|
During the first four waves of H7N9 in China (2013-2016), the months of August and September have always produced the fewest number of human infections. Last week - for the first time since December - no new cases were reported.
Today, China's NHFPC reports just a single case for the week of July 28th to August 3rd.First this announcement from Hong Kong's CHP, then I'll return with a bit more.
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (August 4) monitoring a notification from the National Health and Family Planning Commission that one additional human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) was recorded from July 28 to August 3 in Fujian, and strongly urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.(Continue . . . )
The 58-year-old male patient in Fujian was known to have had exposure to a live poultry farm and had onset on July 19.
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 purchasing 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.
As H7N9's summer lull arrived a couple of months later than usual, we'll be watching carefully to see when cases begin to pick up again this fall. In previous years, that's not been until October or November.
But we saw a quick start last winter and strong activity well into summer - along with findings published last March in Eurosurveillance: Preliminary Epidemiology & Analysis Of Jiangsu's 5th H7N9 Wave that suggested:
` . . . . increased detection rate of H7N9 in environmental samples suggests that the virus might become more resistant to high ambient temperature'This isn't the first time we've seen speculation that the virus may be becoming more heat tolerant (see June 2016 HK CHP Statement On Recent Mainland H7N9 Cases). While its anyone's guess how wave 6 will play out, wave 5 has taught us that this virus is fully capable of throwing surprises our way.