Via CIDRAP, Lisa Schnirring sums up a complex day: China notes H7N9 case, first detection in wild bird. Excerpt:
In a sign that the recent gush of H7N9 influenza cases may be continuing to ebb, China reported one new H7N9 infection today, amid a new report on the first detection in a wild bird and updates on poultry control efforts.
The disease is thought to spread primarily from poultry to people, and reports out of China have said the public's fear of contact with live poultry—a shopping preference and dietary staple in many parts of the country—are cutting into farmer's profits.
Media reports have said the poultry industry has asked some provinces to downplay details about human cases, and so far it's not clear if the drop in cases reflects the impact of poultry control efforts, changes in reporting, or other factors.
During the first H7N9 wave last spring, experts credited temporary poultry market closures with a drop in disease activity, especially in areas such as Shanghai, which announced similar measures in advance of the Lunar New Year late last month and has seen few human cases during the second wave.
China continues to report new H7N9 cases to the World Health Organization (WHO), as required by International Health Regulations. However, cases in two provinces that have been hotspots of disease activity in the second wave of infections have slowed to a trickle. Guangdong has reported eight cases over the past week and Zhejiang province hasn't reported a case since Feb 12.
New H7N9 case
The case-patient reported today is a 29-year-old woman from Hunan province who is hospitalized, according to a report in Chinese translated and posted by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.
The woman's infection is the 14th to be reported from Hunan province. Most of Hunan's cases have occurred in the outbreak's second wave, which began in October.
Her illness edges the outbreak total to 358, according to a running tally provided by FluTrackers. The new case also lifts the number of H7N9 illnesses reported in the second wave to 222, compared with 136 during the first wave last spring.
Less clear is the number of deaths in the outbreak. The unofficial total is 73. Many patients sickened by H7N9 have severe pneumonia, which often requires a lengthy hospital stay, putting a degree of uncertainty between the illnesses and the outcomes.
The weekly update on the WHO's Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) Web site posted yesterday, based on information from China, said three deaths were reported last week, with five reported the week before.