H5N6 avian flu hospitalizes 2 more in China
China has reported two more human H5N6 avian influenza infections from two different provinces, part of a small but steady stream of illnesses involving the strain, according to a statement today from Hong King's Centre for Health Protection (CHP).
H5N6 infections are often severe or fatal, and both patients are hospitalized in critical condition. The first case involves a 68-year-old man from the city of Langzhong in Sichuan province, located in the southwest. His symptoms began on Jan 3, and he was hospitalized the next day. The report didn't say how the man was likely exposed to the virus.
The second case involves a 55-year-old woman from the city of Hangzhou in Zhejiang province in eastern China. She had been exposed to slaughtered poultry before her symptoms began on Jan 6. The woman was admitted to the hospital on Jan 9.
Since 2014, China has reported 65 H5N6 infections, which have mainly affected adults. The virus is known to circulate in poultry in a few Asian countries, but China and Laos are the only ones to report human cases.
Jan 27 CHP statement
Global flu shows signs of decline, but elevated in some countries
In a global flu update that covers roughly the last week of December and the first week of January, levels remained low and appeared to decline, the World Health Organization (WHO) said this week.
Flu activity in some Northern Hemisphere countries rose but appeared to decrease in Europe. In East Asia, flu in China continued to rise, with influenza B predominant in the region. In South America's tropical regions, flu activity stayed elevated, mainly due to H3N2. And in Southern Asia, predominant H3N2 activity increased in locations such as Bhutan, Iran, and Pakistan, while decreasing or remaining stable in others such as India, the Maldives, and Nepal.
Globally, of the respiratory samples that tested positive for flu at national flu labs in the 2 weeks ending Jan 9, 63.7% were influenza A. Of the subtyped influenza A samples, 95.7% were H3N2. Of characterized influenza B samples, all were from the Victoria lineage.
The WHO included the caveat that COVID-19 surveillance and measures could be impacting flu patterns. Given increased flu activity compared with the previous pandemic year, it urged countries to prepare for cocirculation of flu and COVID-19 by stepping up their surveillance of both viruses and boosting flu vaccination levels to avoid added severe disease and hospitalizations from flu.
Jan 24 WHO global flu update
New H5N1 avian flu detections at Russian zoo, Hong Kong nature preserve
In the latest highly pathogenic avian influenza developments, two jurisdictions—Russia and Hong Kong—reported H5N1 events involving birds other than poultry, according to the most recent notifications from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
Russia's outbreak struck zoo birds in Moscow, beginning on Jan 22 and killing two of five susceptible birds, which included mute swans. Another sick bird was culled to curb the spread of the virus. So far, the source of the virus isn't known.
Elsewhere, Hong Kong reported the virus in a Eurasian curlew found dead on Jan 21 at a nature park. The bird was tested as part of ongoing surveillance. The species is an abundant winter visitor. Hong Kong reported its last H5N1 detection in wild birds in mid-December 2021.
Jan 27 OIE report on H5N1 in Russian zoo birds
Jan 26 OIE report on H5N1 in Hong Kong