The China National Health and Family Planning Commission reported yesterday an additional human case of avian influenza A(H5N6).

The case involves a 50-year-old man who lives in Xiangxi, Hunan. The patient developed symptoms on May 23 and was admitted to a local hospital on May 28. He is now in a critical condition. This is the second case reported from Hunan province.

China /CIA
China /CIA

From 2014 to date, a total of 14 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities.

Guangdong province has reported six human cases since 2014, followed by Hunan and Yunan with two each. The remaining cases were reported in Sichuan, Jiangxi, Hubei and Anhui with one each.

Ten of the 14 total cases have been reported since Oct. 2015.

Avian influenza (AI) is caused by those influenza viruses that mainly affect birds and poultry, such as chickens or ducks. These AI viruses are distinct from human seasonal influenza viruses. Since the AI viruses does not commonly infect human, there is little or no immune protection against them in the human population. People mainly become infected with AI through direct contact with infected birds and poultry (live or dead), their droppings or contaminated environments.