NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Hong Kong health officials report monitoring a human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in mainland China. The case involves a 26-year-old woman living in Guilin in Guangxi, who had contact with live domestic poultry before the onset of symptoms. She developed symptoms on August 14 and was admitted for treatment on August 19. The patient has passed away.

Image/Robert Herriman

From 2014 to date, 45 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) have been reported by Mainland health authorities.

Avian Flu Diary reports: Today’s report – which comes via a notification from Hong Kong’s CHP – increases to 21 the number of H5N6 cases reported in the last 10 months. To put that number in perspective, it took 6 years for the first 24 cases to be announced by China. 

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.

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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 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.