H9N2 infects four children in China
China recently reported four H9N2 avian influenza detections, all in children. The cases were noted yesterday in a report in Chinese from Taiwan's health ministry that was translated and posted by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.
Details of the cases also appeared yesterday in a weekly avian influenza update from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP). Both of the government sources cited China's National Health and Family Planning Commission.
All four of the H9N2 infections were mild. One involved a 4-year-old girl from Anhui province who visited a wet market. The other three case-patients, a 1-year-old girl, a 2-year-old boy, and a 15-year-old girl, were from Hunan province. No details were given about their possible exposure sources.
In a risk assessment earlier this year in the wake of an H9N2 detection in Bangladesh, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the virus doesn't seem to transmit easily among people and tends to cause a mild disease, making it a low public health risk. However, the strain is one deemed to have pandemic potential, and health officials have said it bears watching.
Dec 15 CHP report
Dec 15 FluTrackers thread
Iran, Oman among the few global flu hot spots
The slow start to the Northern Hemisphere flu season continues in most countries, with low or sporadic activity reported in the United States and Canada and most of Europe still reporting interseasonal levels, except for the United Kingdom and Norway, which are reporting low levels, the WHO said yesterday in its global update.
About the only hot spots are Oman, which is reporting an increasing mix of 2009 H1N1 and influenza B detections, and Iran, where the 2009 H1N1 virus is predominating.
Elsewhere, Sri Lanka is reporting increased flu activity, as are Central American locations Nicaragua and Costa Rica and Kazakhstan in central Asia.
At the global level as of Nov 29, 72% of specimens tested were influenza A and 28% were influenza B. Of the subtyped influenza A viruses, 57.3% were H3N2 and 42.7 were 2009 H1N1.
Dec 14 WHO global flu update