As of 19 April 2013 (18:00 CET), the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China notified WHO of an additional four laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus from Jiangsu 1 (0) and Zhejiang 3 (0). No additional death has been reported.
Details of these four cases are as follows:
- A 54 year old male, from Jiangsu Province, became ill on 9 April 2013 and was hospitalized on 15 April 2013. He is currently in critical condition. On 17 April 2013, he was laboratory confirmed.
- A 43 year old male, unemployed, from Zhejiang Province, became ill on 12 April 2013 and was hospitalized on 15 April 2013. He was laboratory confirmed on 18 April 2013.
- A 48 year old male, from Zhejiang Province, became ill on 11 April 2013 and was hospitalized on 17 April 2013. He was laboratory confirmed on 19 April 2013.
- A 66 year old female, from Zhejiang Province, with history of exposure to live poultry had onset of illness on 10 April 2013. She was hospitalized on 17 April 2013 and was laboratory confirmed on 19 April 2013.
To date, there are a total of 91 laboratory confirmed human cases with influenza A(H7N9) virus including seventeen fatalities in China reported from four Provinces: Anhui 3 (1), Henan 3 (0), Jiangsu 22 (3) and Zhejiang 30 (2) and two Municipalities: Beijing 1 (0) and Shanghai 32 (11). Currently, 67 patients are hospitalized and seven have been discharged.
Influenza A(H7N9) is one of a subgroup of influenza viruses that normally circulate among birds. Until recently, this virus had not been seen in people. However, human infections have now been detected.
As yet, there is limited information about the scope of the disease the virus causes and about the source of exposure. The disease is of concern because most patients have been severely ill. There is no indication thus far that it can be transmitted between people, but both animal-to-human and human-to-human routes of transmission are being actively investigated.
There are reports from some media outlets that human to human transmission is now suspected in a number of cases though WHO have not confirmed this.
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Contributed by Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple.
Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!