The Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province reported on three additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) today.
The three patients, all with underlying illnesses, comprise a 60-year-old woman who lives in Chaozhou, a 59-year-old man who lives in Jiangmen and a 76-year-old woman who lives in Zhaoqing.
From 2013 to date, 707 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by health authorities on the Mainland.
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.
In addition to the human cases on the mainland, 20 cases imported from China have been reported in Canada (2), Hong Kong (13), Malaysia (1) and Taiwan (4).