WHO details recent avian influenza cases in China

A sample of the H7N9 strain of avian influenza. | Courtesy of the CDC
The National Health and Family Planning Commission of China (NHFPC) recently notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of two avian influenza cases.

In response to this, Chinese officials have established stronger outbreak surveillance and analysis measures, carrying out risk communication and distributing information to the public, along with medical treatment enforcement. According to the WHO, if this appearance of the virus follows the pattern of past outbreaks, there could be an increase of cases over the course of a few months.

Based on past outbreak data, it is likely that sporadic cases will appear in areas that are close to these cases. The first is a 74-year-old individual from Meizhou City. The patient raises poultry and has purchased poultry from local markets. The second reported case is a 60-year-old individual from Hangzhou City with a history of slaughtering domestic poultry. Their cases began Nov. 19 and 20, respectively. Both were reported to be in severe condition at the time of the WHO notice.

If a carrier of the virus travels internationally, community-level spread would be unlikely due to the virus’ apparent lack of infectivity between humans. The WHO recommends that travelers avoid poultry farms in countries that have recorded avian influenza outbreaks and contact with live birds. 

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