The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health reports monitoring two human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) in the Mainland.
The first case involves a 50-year-old man living in Baise City in Guangxi, who had exposure to live poultry. He developed symptoms on January 12, and was admitted for treatment on January 13. The patient is in critical condition.
The second case involves a 35-year-old man living in Zhenjiang City in Jiangsu Province, who had visited live poultry market before onset. He developed symptoms on January 15, and was admitted for treatment on January 19. The patient is in critical condition.
From 2014 to date, 67 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) have been reported by Mainland health authorities.
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 may range from flu-like symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches) to severe respiratory illness (e.g. chest infection). Eye infection (conjunctivitis) and gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. nausea, vomiting and diarrhea) have also been reported. 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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