Chinese health officials reported on two additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Guizhou and Hubei provinces.

China /CIA
China /CIA

According to the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guizhou Province, the patient, aged 79 from Qiandongnan Prefecture, has been hospitalized.

The Health and Family Planning Commission of Hubei Province reported that the male patient, aged 38 from Wuhan and in a critical condition, had exposure to a poultry market.

From 2013 to date, at least 906 human H7N9 cases have been reported by the Mainland health authorities, 131 of which have been recorded from November 2016 thus far, including 57 in Jiangsu, 22 in Zhejiang, 15 in Guangdong, 14 in Anhui, seven in Jiangxi, four in Shanghai, three each in Fujian, Guizhou and Hunan, two in Shandong and one in Hubei. Four cases (imported) and two cases were respectively recorded in Hong Kong and Macau.

According to the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (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 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.