A 33-year-old man from Xintian County, Hunan Province has been confirmed positive for avian influenza A(H7N9), according to the Hunan Provincial Health and Family Planning Commission.

Influenza A (H7N9) virus/CDC
Influenza A (H7N9) virus/CDC

The patient is currently hospitalized and receiving treatment for his illness.

This is the 701st human H7N9 avian influenza reported from Mainland China (681) and 20 exported cases to several countries.

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.

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