Earlier today Gert van der Hoek on FluTrackers picked up several Chinese media reports of a human infection with an unspecified strain of avian flu in Hunan Province (see FT Thread). I've been waiting for some official statement from the Hunan CDC, and confirmation of the subtype before blogging it.
While I haven't found an official statement by the CDC, Chinese State Media Xinhua News has the following report which identifies the subtype as H5N6.
After a lull of more than a year in reports, this is the second case announced out of China in the past 10 days (see China: Jiangsu Province Reports Fatal Human H5N6 Infection). Assuming this case is officially confirmed it will be the 26th human infection reported since 2014.
2020-12-21 23 : 02 : 13 Source : Xinhuanet
Xinhua News Agency, Changsha, December 21st (Reporters Liu Wangmin and Shuai Cai)The reporter learned from the Hunan Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention on the evening of the 21st that a human case of H5N6 avian influenza has been confirmed in Ningyuan County, Yongzhou City, Hunan Province. The patient is currently receiving treatment with vital signs. smooth. From the 20th, local live poultry trading has been suspended.
It is understood that the patient Hu Moumou contracted the disease at a live poultry trading market in Ningyuan County. He was sampled on the 19th by the Yongzhou CDC for H5N6 avian influenza virus nucleic acid test, and the result was positive. Currently, the patient is being treated in an ICU ward of a hospital in Ningyuan County. The patient's vital signs are stable, but he still cannot get out of the ventilator.
From the 20th, live poultry trading in all farmers' markets in Ningyuan County will be suspended. At present, Ningyuan County has completed the cleanup and elimination of the 8 major farmer’s markets in the county town and 44 farmer’s markets in towns and towns. The relevant departments have monitored the close contacts of the patient Hu.
According to disease control experts, H5N6 is a subtype of influenza virus. The source of the virus is poultry. There is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission.
Between two human infections with H5N6 in China, a human case of H5N1 in Laos, and the aggressive return of HPAI H5N8 to both Europe and Asia this fall after an absence of 3 years, bird flu is once again on the ascendant around the globe.
While H5 and H7 viruses are the most concerning avian flu subtypes, Egypt is reporting a surge in H9 (presumably LPAI H9N2) which also has a track record of infecting humans (see Viruses: A Global Perspective on H9N2 Avian Influenza Virus).
The avian influenza detected in the two hotspots was of the subtype H9, one of three subtypes known to infect people
All of which is a reminder that novel flu viruses don't stop spreading and evolving just because we are currently consumed a coronavirus pandemic.