H7N9 found in samples from Shenzhen live-bird markets
Three environmental samples from live-poultry markets in Shenzhen, China, have tested positive for H7N9 avian flu virus, the South China Morning Post reported today. Two recent cases in Hong Kong have been linked to Shenzhen.
Officials discovered the virus after collecting 70 samples at 13 live-bird markets throughout the city.
One H7N9-positive sample was from blood taken from a chopping board at a stall selling live poultry, and the other two were from urine samples from a stall housing chickens, the story said. The contaminated markets are located in Shenzhen's Longgang district.
University of Hong Kong microbiologist Ho Pak-leung urged Hong Kong to discontinue all live-poultry imports from the mainland. Currently, Hong Kong has suspended imports only from three Shenzhen farms.
Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP), in a brief statement today, said it had been informed of the findings and "will continue to maintain liaison with the Mainland health authorities to monitor the latest developments."
Dec 11 South China Morning Post story
Dec 11 Hong Kong CHP statement
WHO: Global flu activity low
Global influenza activity remained low overall but has started to increase slightly in the Northern Hemisphere, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a Dec 9 update on virus activity.
During weeks 46 and 47 (which concluded on Nov 23), flu activity increased slightly in the Northern Hemisphere and stayed low in the Southern Hemisphere, the WHO said. As noted in recent regional reports, activity in North America and Europe has increased a bit, with 2009 H1N1 predominating in the United States and Canada and all three major strains circulating in European nations.
Of 1,169 flu-positive samples from national labs, 852 (72.9%) were influenza A and 317 (27.1%) influenza B. Influenza A strains were almost evenly divided, with 331 (51.8%) subtyped 2009 H1N1 and 308 (48.2%) H3N2. Only 14 influenza B viruses were subtyped, with 13 belonging to the Yamagata lineage and 1 to the Victoria lineage.
Dec 9 WHO update