Maintenance. We are currently updating the site. Please check back shortly
Members login
  • TrustLaw
  • Members Portal
Subscribe

More infected in fresh wave of China bird flu - WHO

Source: Reuters - Mon, 20 Jan 2014 08:53 PM
Author: Reuters
hum-dis
DATE IMPORTED:May 7, 2013A man holds a pigeon at a pigeon farm, which according to the owner has not been affected by the H7N9 bird flu strain, in Quzhou, Zhejiang province, China, May 6, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer
Tweet Recommend Google + LinkedIn Bookmark Email Print
Leave us a comment

* Cases may increase as people travel for Chinese New Year

* Winter flu season also means more infections were likely

* Many people with H7N9 have had exposure to poultry

* WHO recommends good hygiene and proper food handling

By Kate Kelland

LONDON, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Another 23 people in China have been infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu in recent days, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday, adding to at least 24 new cases last week and confirming a fresh surge in the virus.

With many people travelling within the country for upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations on Jan. 31, the United Nations health agency also said people should be aware of the risk that flu viruses might spread more widely.

Among the new H7N9 cases, reported from several different provinces of China, was a 38-year-old man who died on Jan. 9 and a five year-old girl from Guangdong province who became ill on Jan. 14 and is now stable in hospital.

Many of the other new patients were either in a serious or critical condition in hospitals. Several had reported recent exposure to poultry or poultry markets, but the WHO said the source of infections was still under investigation.

"Given the population movement prior to Chinese New Year and potentially unpredictable behaviour of influenza viruses, continued vigilance and close monitoring are needed," the WHO's China office said in a statement on its website.

It advised people "to continue to practice good hygiene and handle food properly" but did not recommend any travel or trade restrictions.

The H7N9 bird flu virus emerged in March last year and has so far infected at least 199 people in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, killing 52 of them, according to an update on Monday from the WHO's spokesman Gregory Hartl.

Several clusters of cases in people who had close contact with an infected person have been reported in China, but WHO reiterated on Monday that "so far, there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission".

Hartl told Reuters last week that the United Nations health agency had noted the recent rapid increase in human H7N9 infections and was keeping a watchful eye.

"So far we haven't seen anything that causes us to change our risk assessment," he said.

The WHO's assessment is that "the current likelihood of community-level spread ... is considered to be low."

Experts say the Northern Hemisphere's winter flu season is probably largely to blame for a significant increase in the number of cases of human H7N9 infection in recent weeks after they dwindled to almost nothing in July and August of 2013.

"This trend is expected to continue through the winter months," said the WHO's China office.

Experts have warned public health authorities and doctors to be on alert for any signals that the more widely circulating virus might be adapting or mutating to become easily transmissible between people. 

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. For more information see our Acceptable Use Policy.

comments powered by Disqus
Related Spotlights
TOPICAL CONTENT
Topical content
LATEST SLIDESHOW

Latest slideshow

See allSee all
FEATURED JOBS
Featured jobs