In China, the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province has reported a fatality due to to avian influenza A(H7N9) in a Dongguan man. According to health authorities, the 61-year-old man with underlying illnesses was admitted to a local hospital on December 22 and passed away the next day. The deceased had visited a local market and had contact with live poultry.
From 2013 to date, 664 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by the mainland China health authorities.
According to the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health, 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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