China reports 2 more H7N9 cases, poultry positives

market pigeon

The latest H7N9 testing at live markets in two Chinese provinces found the virus in a small number of pigeons and chickens., ESezer/iStock

Provincial health officials in China today reported two new H7N9 avian influenza cases, along with a death in a patient who was sickened by the virus in January.

The latest H7N9 detections include an 88-year-old man from Guangdong province who is hospitalized in critical condition and a 27-year-old man from Fujian province who is hospitalized with a mild infection, according to provincial health ministry reports translated and posted by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.

Fujian province also reported the death, in a patient whose illness was detected on Jan 18 and who died Mar 3, according to the ministry statement.

Today's developments boost the outbreak's unofficial total to 387 cases and the number of deaths to 120. The latest infections also increase the number of H7N9 illnesses in the second wave to 251, compared with 136 in the first wave.

In related developments, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it received a report on Mar 4 from Hong Kong health officials regarding its latest lab-confirmed case, in an 18-month-old girl who got sick after traveling to Guangdong province.

The girl was initially hospitalized on Mar 1, but was discharged 2 days later in stable condition. She was readmitted to the hospital on Mar 4 after lab tests confirmed her H7N9 infection. The WHO said she is asymptomatic, with no fever.

Initial investigations into the source of her illness found that she had been in the Guangdong city of Foshan between Feb 5 and Feb 27 and visited a wet market with her mother. The WHO added that further investigations and contact tracing are under way.

The WHO also said today on its Twitter account that China notified it of four more lab-confirmed H7N9 cases on Mar 5 and 6 and that one of the patients had a history of exposure to poultry.

H7N9 positives in pigeons, chickens

In poultry developments today, China's agriculture ministry reported its latest test results, with positive samples detected at three agriculture markets, two in Hunan province and one in Guangdong. It described the test results in a report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

At a market in the Hunan city of Liuyang on Feb 19, authorities took 50 samples from chickens, pigeons, and the environment. The only positive samples were from pigeons, and workers destroyed 631 susceptible birds. At a market in Loudi the same day, officials collected 22 samples from chickens, finding two that were positive. Twenty-two birds were culled to curb the spread of the virus.

At an agricultural market in Zhuhai, Guangdong, on Feb 23, workers collected 60 samples from chicken, ducks, and geese, of which only six chickens tested positive. Authorities culled 735 susceptible birds.

See also:

Mar 7 FluTrackers thread

FluTrackers human H7N9 case list

Mar 7 WHO statement

WHO Twitter feed

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