Ten H7N9 cases confirmed in China as poultry outbreak noted

Today the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) reported 10 additional cases of H7N9 avian flu, all in men, including 2 deaths.

The illnesses were reported by mainland officials from Jun 16 to 22 and are 5 more than the center reported last week.

Nine out of the 10 patients had known exposure to live poultry or poultry markets. The men's ages range from 31 to 79, and the cases are reported from a wide swath of China, including two each in Beijing and Sichuan, and one each in Anhui, Guizhou, Hebei, Jiangsu, and Tianjin provinces and in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The CHP said the newest cases should promote strict hygiene practices.

"Travellers to the Mainland or other affected areas must avoid visiting wet markets, live poultry markets or farms." the CHP cautions. "They should also avoid purchasing live or freshly slaughtered poultry, and avoid touching poultry/birds or their droppings. They should strictly observe personal and hand hygiene when visiting any place with live poultry."

High-path outbreak in poultry

In related news, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) confirmed today that highly pathogenic H7N9 caused a poultry outbreak in China's Heilongjiang province.

The outbreak involved 20,150 sick birds, 19,500 deaths, and 16,610 destroyed birds among a flock of 36,111 birds, for an apparent mortality rate of 54% and a case-fatality rate of 97%. The poultry farm is located in the northeastern part of China.

China first detected highly pathogenic H7N9 in poultry in February, in birds in Guangdong province's live-poultry markets.

Resistance in macaques

Finally today, a recent study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases showed that immunocompromised macaques were more likely to develop treatment-resistant strains of H7N9 avian flu even after receiving high doses of antivirals.

The research adds to the growing understanding of antiviral resistance to H7N9.

To conduct the study, researchers infected healthy and immunocompromised macaques with H7N9 virus and treated them with oseltamivir (Tamiflu). The immunocompromised monkeys had higher morbidity and mortality than their healthy peers, and while oseltamivir treatment at two different doses reduced A(H7N9) virus titers in all infected animals, it did not sufficiently suppress the virus to prevent the emergence of resistant variants.

See also:

Jun 23 CHP report

Jun 23 OIE China report

Jun 21 J Infect Dis study

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