According to the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning, a 59-year-old man is the latest human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in the Mainland, bringing the total to 665 cases since 2013.

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

The patient was confirmed positive on Jan. 1 and is currently under treatment.

This follows a H7N9 avian influenza case that was reported by the Jiangxi Provincial Health and Family Planning Commission on Dec. 31. According to an Avian Flu Diary report, this is the first report of H7N9 out of Jiangxi Province this fall, and only the 11th overall case reported from that province (ranked #8 in number of cases in Mainland China).

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.