Nineteen additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9), 13 males and six females, with the onset dates in the past five weeks prior to February 25 have been reported from mainland China health authorities Monday.

 A CDC scientist uses a pipette to transfer H7N9 virus/James Gathany
A CDC scientist uses a pipette to transfer H7N9 virus/James Gathany

The National Health and Family Planning Commission said eleven cases are from Zhejiang, three are from Jiangsu, two are from Hunan, one is from Fujian, one is from Guizhou and one is from Jiangxi. Three of the patients (one man and two women) died and two (one man and one woman) were in critical condition.

To date, 618 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities in Guangdong (181 cases), Zhejiang (167 cases), Jiangsu (73 cases), Fujian (59 cases), Shanghai (45 cases), Hunan (26 cases), Anhui (24 cases), Xinjiang (10 cases), Jiangxi (10 cases), Shandong (six cases), Beijing (five cases), Henan (four cases), Guangxi (three cases), Jilin (two cases), Guizhou (two cases) 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 638 since March 2013.

In related news from Hong Kong, The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department announced today (March 10) that in view of a notification from the United States (US) authorities about an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza in Jasper County, State of Missouri, the US, it has banned the import of poultry meat and products (including poultry eggs) from the county with immediate effect for the protection of Hong Kong’s public health.

A CFS spokesman said about 267 000 tonnes of chilled and frozen poultry meat and about 530 million poultry eggs were imported into Hong Kong from the US last year.

“The CFS has contacted the US authorities over the issue and will closely monitor information issued by the World Organisation for Animal Health on avian influenza outbreaks in the country. Appropriate action will be taken in response to the development of the situation,” the spokesman said.