In China, the twenty-first human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) since 2014 has been reported in a 22-year-old man from Guangzhou in Guangdong.
The patient developed symptoms on September 25 and was hospitalized on the next day. He is now in a serious condition. The patient had contact with live poultry before the onset of symptoms.
Avian influenza is caused by those influenza viruses that mainly affect birds and poultry, such as chickens or ducks.
Clinical presentation of avian influenza in humans includes eye infection (conjunctivitis), flu-like symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches) or severe respiratory illness (e.g. chest infection). The incubation period ranges from 7 to 10 days.
The more virulent forms can result in respiratory failure, multi-organ failure and even death. People mainly become infected with avian influenza virus through contact with infected birds and poultry (live or dead) or their droppings, or contact with contaminated environments (such as wet markets and live poultry markets). Human-to-human transmission is inefficient.
People in close contact with poultry are more susceptible to contracting avian influenza. The elderly, children and people with chronic illness have a higher risk of developing complications such as bronchitis and chest infection.
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