China continues to see a steady pace of new H7N9 avian flu infections late into the season, with 24 cases reported over the past week, including at least one from a province that had never reported one before.
Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) typically publishes a report in English on the most recent week's worth of cases from the mainland, but today the only hint of a weekly total came in a report in Chinese from Xinhua, China's state news agency.
This week's total reflects an increase from 17 reported from China last week.
Citing Chinese national health officials, the report said the 24 cases were reported between Apr 28 and May 4 and that 9 of the infections were fatal. A translation of the Xinhua report was posted by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board. The report offered no other details about the newly infected patients or the affected provinces.
Shaanxi province's first cases
Yesterday, however, the CHP said it was monitoring two new cases from the mainland, that of a 62-year-old man from Shaanxi, the province's first such case. The province is located in northwestern China. The man died from his illness.
Today Xinhua reported a second case from Shaanxi province, involving a 63-year-old man who was hospitalized.
The CHP also noted another H7N9 patient in the city of Chongqing, a 25-year-old woman who is hospitalized. Chongqing is in southwestern China.
China is currently in its fifth and by far its largest wave of H7N9 infections, an event that has been marked by wider geographic spread and the detection of a highly pathogenic form of the virus in poultry.
Separate reports flagged by infectious disease news tracking sources suggest that new cases in Hebei province, which had reported only a few H7N9 cases, are likely part of China's weekly H7N9 total. Hebei province is in northern China and is not far from Beijing, which has also reported a surge of recent cases.
Provincial officials in Hebei province announced six new cases between Apr 28 and May 4, according to a statement translated and posted by FluTrackers.
In a likely related development, China's agriculture ministry today announced an H7N9 outbreak at a poultry breeding farm in Hebei province, which killed 5,000 chickens and led to the culling of 80,057 more, according to a statement translated and posted by Avian Flu Diary (AFD), an infectious disease news blog.
China has now reported at least 680 cases during the fifth wave, including at least 197 deaths.
May 5 FluTrackers thread on Xinhua report
May 4 CHP statement
May 5 Xinhua report on second Shaanxi province case
May 4 FluTrackers thread on Hebei province cases
May 5 AFD post