By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
Hong Kong health authorities report monitoring three human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) in the Mainland.
The first case involved a 51-year-old woman living in Xuanhan in Sichuan Province, who had contact with live domestic poultry before the onset of symptoms. She developed symptoms on June 25, and was admitted for treatment on July 2. The patient passed away on July 4.
The second case involved a 57-year-old man living in Kaijiang in Sichuan Province, who had contact with live domestic poultry before onset. He developed symptoms on June 22, and was admitted for treatment on July 5. The patient is in critical condition.
The third case involved a 66-year-old man living in Tongnan in Chongqing Municipality, who had contact with live domestic poultry before onset. He developed symptoms on June 23, and was admitted for treatment on June 30. The patient is in critical condition.
From 2014 to date, 35 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) have been reported by Mainland health authorities.
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 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. The elderly, children and people with chronic illness have a higher risk of developing complications such as bronchitis and chest infection.