Human H5N1 uptick continues in Egypt with 1 case, 1 death
Egypt's ministry of health (MOH) today announced a case of H5N1 avian influenza in a 3-year-old boy in Giza governorate, bringing the country's 2014 total to 27 cases, according to a machine-translated statement posted by FluTrackers.
The MOH also reported the death from H5N1 of a 30-year-old woman from Ashmun, Monofia governorate, raising Egypt's H5N1 death toll this year to 11.
The child experienced fever and cough, said MOH. Chest films showed he had pneumonia on Dec 26, and H5N1 was confirmed Dec 29.
The MOH is calling on Egyptians who work with poultry to go immediately to a hospital if they experience symptoms and to exercise caution in working with birds, particularly any showing signs of illness. It also cautions people to wash their hands after handling birds, to keep children away from bird breeding or slaughter areas, and to separate birds from living quarters.
The past 6 weeks have seen a major uptick in H5N1 cases in Egypt, notes a post today in Avian Flu Diary. The country went nearly 2 years with only 8 human cases of H5N1 but has reported 23 cases just since mid-November, it notes.
Dec 31 FluTrackers notice
Dec 31 Avian Flu Diary article
Tests confirm H7N9 in Hong Kong poultry imports
Follow-up tests by Hong Kong's agriculture department on a shipment of live chickens from China's mainland that were shown on serologic tests to have been exposed to H7 avian influenza revealed that the birds are infected with the H7N9 virus, the government said today in a statement.
The initial 120 swabs taken from the birds were negative on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, but officials collected 120 more swabs from the same birds, and PCR results were positive for H7N9 in a number of them.
The findings triggered a 21-day closure of the wholesale poultry market where the birds were kept and the temporary suspension of live poultry imports from the mainland, Hong Kong's government said. Authorities started culling the 15,000 birds at the wholesale market today.
Officials will ensure that biosecurity measures are in place before the farm that raised the infected birds is allowed to resume supplying birds to Hong Kong, and they will inspect all 29 registered farms in Hong Kong to make sure their flocks are not infected with H7N9.
A handful of Chinese provinces have reported recent human H7N9 infections, and most of the patients had been exposed to poultry markets or live poultry. Hong Kong officials had detected H7N9 in poultry imported from the mainland in previous waves of infection. However, at a media briefing today, Ko Wing-man, MBBS, Hong Kong's secretary of food and health, said this is the first time authorities have used serology to detect H7 in live poultry.
In a related development, Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said it is monitoring the health of workers who were exposed to the poultry. A worker at the wholesale market is considered a close contact, and among 77 other contacts identified were the truck driver who transported the chickens, animal inspectors, and cullers.
Dec 31 Hong Kong government statement
Dec 31 CHP statement