H7N9 hospitalizes two men in China's Hubei province
Two more H7N9 avian influenza infections were reported from China, both of them involving men from Hubei province in the central part of the country, Hong Kong's Center for Health Protection (CHP) said today in a statement.
The men, ages 40 and 55, are hospitalized in critical condition in Wuhan.
China reported an early, large spike in infections in December, with an even bigger one in January, totaling at least 230 cases, rivaling the record number of 319 reported in China's second H7N9 wave in the winter of 2013-2014. So far, it's not clear if the high number of cases will continue into February. Several affected areas in China have temporarily suspended live poultry sales, a step that helped curb earlier outbreaks in humans. However, China and surrounding areas just celebrated Lunar New Year, which increases interactions between people and poultry and leads to more travel.
Chinese researchers and agricultural officials said sampling of poultry and their environments in December reflected an increase in positive H7N9 tests, one factor that could explain the rise in human cases.
Feb 2 CHP statement
Belgium reports first H5N8 outbreak, virus strikes more wild birds in two countries
Belgium's agriculture ministry today announced the country's first H5N8 avian influenza detection, signaling an ongoing expansion of the virus in Europe, according to a government statement translated and posted by Avian Flu Diary (AFD), an infectious disease news message board.
Officials said H5N8 was found in samples from birds at a hobby farm in Lebbeke, in north central Belgium. They ordered bird and poultry owners to separate them from wild birds and placed a temporary ban on bird gatherings. Several of Belgium's neighbors have already reported H5N8 outbreaks, including France, the Netherlands, and Germany.
In other H5N8 developments, the Netherlands and Poland reported more outbreaks involving wild birds, according to the latest reports from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Dutch officials reported five more outbreaks affecting four different provinces. The events began between Jan 18 and Jan 28, killing 75 waterfowl. Poland's agriculture ministry reported 18 more outbreaks, with start dates spanning Jan 20 to Jan 31 and affecting seven different provinces. The virus killed 68 waterfowl, most of them mute swans.
Feb 2 AFD post
Feb 1 OIE report on H5N8 in the Netherlands
Feb 2 OIE report on H5N8 in Poland