NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

In a follow-up on the H5N6 avian influenza situation on Mainland China, Hong Kong health officials report five additional human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) from December 2021, bringing the total cases reported to 36 last year.

The latest reported cases include two fatalities from Luzhou, Sichuan province.

Age Sex Living place Onset date Admission date Condition History of exposure to live poultry
75 Male Luzhou,
December 1, 2021 December 4, 2021 Passed away on December 12, 2021 Had exposure to live domestic poultry
54 Male Leshan,
December 8, 2021 December 16, 2021 Passed away on December 24, 2021 Had exposure to live domestic poultry
51 Female Hangzhou, Zhejiang December 15, 2021 December 18, 2021 Critical Had exposure to live domestic poultry
53 Male Liuzhou, Guangxi December 19, 2021 December 23, 2021 Serious Had exposure to dead poultry
28 Male Liuzhou, Guangxi December 23, 2021 December 23, 2021 Critical Pending confirmation

This brings the total cases in China since 2014, including one case reported in 2022 to 63.

H5N6 avian influenza in China: CDC ongoing global monitoring

avian influenza prevention/CHP

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 may range from flu-like symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches) to severe respiratory illness (e.g. chest infection). Eye infection (conjunctivitis) and gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. nausea, vomiting and diarrhea) have also been reported. The incubation period ranges from 7 to 10 days. The more virulent forms can result in respiratory failure, multi-organ failure and even death.

H5N6 avian influenza: WHO urges countries to remain vigilant

People mainly become infected with avian influenza virus through contact with infected birds and poultry (live or dead) or their droppings, or contact with contaminated environments (such as wet markets and live poultry markets). Human-to-human transmission is inefficient. People in close contact with poultry are more susceptible to contracting avian influenza. The elderly, children and people with chronic illness have a higher risk of developing complications such as bronchitis and chest infection.