Chinese woman critical with H7N9 infection

China recently announced a new H7N9 infection in a 61-year-old woman from Hebei province who is hospitalized in critical condition, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

The woman's illness is the first new H7N9 case to be confirmed since May 29, raising the outbreak total to 134 cases, including 43 deaths. She is from Langfang City, which is about 34 miles southeast of Beijing, the WHO said in a Jul 20 statement.

Her symptoms began on Jul 10, and she was immediately admitted to a local hospital, where she was treated for 5 days. On Jul 18 she was transferred to a Beijing hospital. The Beijing Municipal Center for Disease Control confirmed her H7N9 infection on Jul 20.

The new case is the first to be reported from Hebei province, raising the number of affected provinces to nine. Infections have also been reported from the cities of Shanghai and Beijing.

According to a translation of a Jul 20 Beijing health department statement posted on FluTrackers, an infectious disease message board, the woman had visited live-poultry market stalls near her home before she got sick and had not recently traveled. Beijing officials also said nine of the woman's close contacts have been monitored, and so far none have symptoms.

Among China's H7N9 cases, four patients remain hospitalized and 87 have been discharged, the WHO said. So far there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission, a marker that could signify a greater pandemic threat.

The WHO, in its July update on influenza at the human-animal interface, said though H7N9 infections in China have dropped sharply since late May, additional reports of human infections would not be surprising, given that some live-animal markets reopened at the end of June and that the virus could still be circulating in poultry.

It also noted that the number of human cases could start rising again as autumn approaches, if the new virus follows a seasonal outbreak pattern seen for other flu viruses.

See also:

Jul 20 WHO statement

Jul 20 FluTrackers thread

Jul 4 WHO report on influenza at the human-animal interface

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