The Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province has reported an additional human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in a 37-year-old man who lives in Jieyang.
H7N9 avian influenza viruses can cause severe infections in humans. Due to the seasonal pattern, risk assessment shows that the activity of avian influenza viruses is expected to remain at a high level in winter months.
From 2013 to date, 708 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by the 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 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 through close contact with infected birds and poultry (live or dead) or their droppings. Human-to-human transmission is inefficient. People in close contact with poultry are more susceptible to contracting avian flu. The elderly, children and people with chronic illness have a higher risk of developing complications such as bronchitis and chest infection.