The Health and Family Planning Commission of Hubei Province, China is reporting an additional human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in an individual who developed severe pneumonia and multi-organ failure, was an imported case from a neighboring province. The patient engages in poultry trading.

H7N9 avian influenza Image/CDC
H7N9 avian influenza

From 2013 to date, 710 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities. In addition, there has been a total of 731 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) reported globally.

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.