The Health and Family Planning Commission of Anhui Province has reported two additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9), bringing the total cases in the East China province to 23.

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

According to the Anhui Province health officials, two male patients aged 50 and 68 respectively with poultry exposure before onset, were hospitalized for management in serious condition.

Overall to date, 596 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities in Guangdong (179 cases), Zhejiang (156 cases), Jiangsu (70 cases), Fujian (58 cases), Shanghai (45 cases), Hunan (24 cases), Anhui (23 cases), Xinjiang (10 cases), Jiangxi (nine cases), Shandong (six cases), Beijing (five cases), Henan (four cases), Guangxi (three cases), Jilin (two cases), Guizhou (one case) and Hebei (one case).

This puts the total cases, both from the Mainland and imported cases (Hong Kong-13, Taiwan-4, Canada-2 and Malaysia-1)to other countries to 616 since March 2013.

Avian influenza A (H7N9) is an influenza (flu) virus found in birds that does not normally infect humans. However, in spring of 2013, China began reporting infections with the virus in people. Most of these infections have been associated with contact with infected poultry or contaminated environments (such as poultry markets) in China. Early symptoms are consistent with seasonal flu and may include fever, cough, sore throat,muscle aches and fatigue, loss of appetite, and runny or stuffy nose. However, infection with this virus often causes severe respiratory illness and, in some cases, death.