According to the Health and Family Planning Commission of Shanxi Province, a 66-year-old woman from Datong, Shanxi Province has contracted avian influenza A(H7N9), becoming the first such human case in the province.

H7N9 avian influenza Image/Cynthia S. Goldsmith and Thomas Rowe
H7N9 avian influenza
Image/Cynthia S. Goldsmith and Thomas Rowe

The patient is currently in serious but stable condition.

Experts from the Chinese CDC and the provincial CDC were sent to Datong to help with treatment of the patient as well as investigation and prevention work for the disease.

Since March 2013 through May 13, 2017, there were a total of 1486 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) reported globally. Since October 2016, 680 cases have been recorded in Mainland China.

Most human cases are exposed to avian influenza A(H7N9) virus through contact with infected poultry or contaminated environments, including live poultry markets. Since the virus continues to be detected in animals and environments, and live poultry vending continues, further human cases can be expected.

Although small clusters of cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus have been reported including those involving patients in the same ward, current epidemiological and virological evidence suggests that this virus has not acquired the ability of sustained transmission among humans.

Travelers to countries with known outbreaks of avian influenza should avoid, if possible, poultry farms, contact with animals in live poultry markets, entering areas where poultry may be slaughtered, or contact with any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals. Travelers should also wash their hands often with soap and water, and follow good food safety and good food hygiene practices.