China and Hong Kong report new H7N9 cases
Hong Kong and China each reported a new H7N9 influenza case over the past 2 days, according to official statements, signaling ongoing low-level activity in the second wave of activity.
Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) yesterday reported an H7N9 infection in an 85-year-old woman who got sick after a recent visit to the mainland's Guangdong province, where she had been exposed to poultry. Her illness marks Hong Kong's 10th such infection, and all have had connections to the mainland.
The woman had traveled to the city of Dongguan from Apr 4 to Apr 5 with her husband and younger brother, where they stayed with relatives who rear chickens. The patient had also visited a wet market in the area and helped slaughter chickens at the home on Apr 4. She started having symptoms on Apr 11 and was hospitalized in an isolation unit yesterday where she is listed in critical condition.
Investigation of her contacts found that on Apr 10 she had visited her husband in a different hospital, where he was being treated for another illness. So far her husband is asymptomatic, and health officials are monitoring seven other family members who are considered close contacts.
On the mainland today, Jiangsu province reported an H7N9 infection in a 52-year-old man from Changzhou, according to a health department statement translated and posted by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board. He is hospitalized in serious condition.
The two infections boost the overall outbreak total to 421, according to FluTrackers' running list of human cases. So far 285 of the cases have been reported in outbreak's second wave, compared with 136 during the first wave.
In other developments, the World Health Organization (WHO) today provided more details about four H7N9 reports that it received from China on Apr 11. All four are from Guangdong province, where three had been exposed to live poultry markets and one had been exposed to poultry. Patients include two women, ages 71 and 81, and two men, ages 79 and 37.
Illness onsets range from Mar 26 through Apr 7. All four of the patients are hospitalized in critical condition.
Apr 14 FluTrackers thread
Apr 13 CHP statement
FluTrackers human H7N9 case count
Apr 14 WHO statement
Japan culls 112,000 chickens after H5 outbreaks
Japan culled about 112,000 chickens on two farms on the southern island of Kyushu and restricted shipments of almost 400,000 chickens after H5 avian flu outbreaks, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. A report filed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) yesterday said at least one of the outbreaks was caused by a highly pathogenic strain.
Officials started culling birds 2 days ago after H5 killed about 1,100 chickens on a farm near the town of Taragi in Kumamoto prefecture, according to Bloomberg.
The other farm, in a nearby town, had 200 poultry killed by the virus, according to the OIE report. The remaining 56,200 birds were then culled. Further testing is under way to determine the specific H5 strain, the report said.
The two farms are owned by the same operator, Bloomberg News reported. The last avian flu outbreak in the country—in 2010 and 2011—resulted in the culling of 1.83 million chickens on 24 farms in nine prefectures, Japan's agriculture ministry said.
Apr 13 Bloomberg News story
Apr 13 OIE report