In a possible sign of a drop-off in infections, China reported only two new H7N9 avian flu cases today, one of them fatal, both from Guangdong province, one of the hotspots of disease activity in the second wave of infections.
Today's trickle of new cases comes on the heels of no cases being reported yesterday. The slowdown stands in stark contrast to the past several weeks, when China averaged about five to seven new H7N9 cases per day.
Guangdong's health ministry announced that the newly confirmed cases are in a 78-year-old man who died today from his infection and a 66-year-old woman who is hospitalized in critical condition, according to a statement translated and posted by the FluTrackers infectious disease news message board.
The two new cases lift the total in the second wave of infections, underway since October, to 213. That compares with 136 reported in the first wave last spring. Combined, the number of infections now totals 349, according to FluTrackers' running case compilation. The unofficial number of deaths is 73.
WHO confirms 8 other cases
In other developments, the World Health Organization (WHO) today released new details about eight H7N9 case-patients reported from China and Hong Kong over the past few days, one of which was fatal.
They include five cases reported by China on Feb 11, two cases it reported on Feb 12, and one case reported by Hong Kong on Feb 12. All of the patients are adults, except for a 5-year-old girl from Guangdong province.
Six of the patients had been exposed to live poultry or a live-poultry market setting, the WHO said. The seven patients from the mainland hail from Zhejiang (4), Guangdong (1), Anhui (1), and Hunan (1) provinces. Hong Kong's patient got sick while traveling in Guangdong province.
Illness onsets range from Jan 29 through Feb 8. Four of the patients are hospitalized in critical condition, and two are in severe condition. The 5-year-old girl has been discharged from the hospital, and one of the patients—a 56-year-old farmer from Anhui province—died from his infection.
Feb 14 FluTrackers thread
FluTrackers human H7N9 case list
Feb 14 WHO report