A man from Dongguan, Guangdong Province , China is the latest person to contract avian influenza A(H7N9), according to the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province (GDHFPC) today.
According to the GDHFPC, the male patient, aged 36, was hospitalised for isolation and management and was in critical condition.
To date, 457 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities, respectively in Zhejiang (141 cases), Guangdong (114 cases), Jiangsu (59 cases), Shanghai (42 cases), Hunan (24 cases), Fujian (23 cases), Anhui (17 cases), Jiangxi (eight cases), Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (eight cases), Beijing (five cases), Shandong (five cases), Henan (four cases), Guangxi (three cases), Jilin (two cases), Guizhou (one case) and Hebei (one case).
This brings the total cases reported, including cases exported out of China to 473.
The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) says 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.