H7N9 strikes two Shandong province family members…”Gene study finds H7N9 changes in second wave”

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
By Paul Martin

Lisa Schnirring
May 27, 2014

Chinese health officials today reported an H7N9 influenza infection in a man from Shandong province whose father recently died from the disease, as research teams from China found new clues about how the virus is changing and affecting poultry purchases.

City officials in the Shandong city of Yantai said the 61-year-old father died May 23 from respiratory distress and multiple organ failure, according to a report today from Xinhua, China’s state news agency. He experienced his first symptoms on May 6, and lab tests confirming his H7N9 illness were announced on May 23.

The man’s 33-year-old son got sick with a fever on May 15, was hospitalized on May 20, and is receiving intensive care, according to the Xinhua story.

It’s not clear if the man and his son had the same poultry exposure. Influenza experts have said the H7N9 virus doesn’t spread easily from person to person, but that the virus can spread during prolonged unprotected contact, such as when people care for sick family members.

Shandong is located north of the main outbreak area and has now reported five H7N9 infections. The new illness boosts the overall outbreak total to 447, of which 311 were reported in the second wave of infections; 136 cases were reported last spring during the first wave. The latest death lifts the unofficial fatality count to 157.

Gene study finds H7N9 changes in second wave

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