China’s Second H7N9 Wave Tops Infections Seen In Spring Outbreak

Friday, January 31, 2014
By Paul Martin

Lawrence LeBlond
RedOrbit.com
January 31, 2014

In the past three days the World Health Organization (WHO) has been notified of at least 27 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with H7N9 avian influenza. According to CIDRAP’s Lisa Schnirring, this second wave of H7N9 infections has surpassed the spring outbreak.

Since the beginning of the New Year a total of 120 lab-confirmed cases have been etched into the books, with 137 cases confirmed since the second wave began, putting that number at one over the spring wave of 136. The total number of deaths associated with both outbreaks stands at 60, according to CIDRAP.

As well, the second wave of H7N9 infections has come at a much faster pace. The first wave of illnesses saw 136 cases over 158 days. This second wave is in its 105th day, with more than 90 percent of cases seen since the beginning of the New Year.

The latest H7N9 case was confirmed in a 75-year-old woman from Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, according to a Xinhua news report. The patient is currently in critical condition.

While the number of new cases has been on a rapid incline, Li Lanjuan, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a specialist in H7N9 prevention, told Xinhua that there has so far been no sustained cases of human-to-human transmission.

Also, Li said her team has identified some mutation in the H7N9 virus this year, but not on a large scale.

“Inter-human transmission is very unlikely,” said Li, adding that the virus has not evolved to be extensively drug resistant.

Chinese health officials are expecting flu numbers to begin dropping as live poultry trading has been halted in several cities — Hangzhou, Ningbo and Jinhua – where the outbreak has been most prominent. As well, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) urged any live poultry markets should be closed if a case of H7N9 is detected.

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