Chinese health officials reported another infection with the novel H7N9 virus, a 15-year-old boy who was sick in April with a seasonal H3N2 influenza coinfection and has since recovered, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday.
The boy, from Jiangsu province, got sick on Apr 25 and was hospitalized the next day. He recovered and was discharged on May 2. Molecular testing showed the boy was positive for H3N2 and the new H7N9 virus, according to the WHO, which received the information on the new case from China's National Health and Family Planning Commission.
Jiangsu health officials consulted with national and other provincial experts about the case on Jul 1.
Details of the boy's case are consistent with an H7N9-H3N2 coinfection case reported by Chinese researchers in the Jun 15 issue of The Lancet. The team wrote that he was a previously healthy student who was treated with oseltamivir (Tamiflu) in the hospital.
They also noted that dual infections are a possible source of reassortment between human and avian flu virus strains
The boy's illness raises the outbreak total to 133 confirmed cases. All are from China except one case in a Taiwanese man who had traveled to China's outbreak area for work.
The WHO also said it has been informed that there are 43 deaths from the disease, which is 8 more than the group last reported on May 29. That total likely includes a man from Shanghai whose death was reported by the media on Jun 26.Note that the report has to connect some dots between the current case and an earlier account in The Lancet, and must speculate that the June 26 H7N9 death in Shanghai was among those reported by WHO. Chinese transparency is better than it used to be, but still far from perfect.