Weekly H7N9 Virus Update

Flu Update

Weekly Avian Influenza A(H7N9) virus update: April 22, 2013

Introduction

China: Several additional laboratory-confirmed human infections with the avian influenza A(H7N9) virus were reported since last week.  The total amount of reported infections is approximately 103 – there have been a total of 20 deaths since the outbreak of the virus.  Chief epidemiologists at the China CDC have announced that approximately 40% of the A(H7N9) patients have had no history of exposure to poultry; this establishes the need for a wider investigation into how the disease is being spread.

Key Alerts

  • April 18Experts gather to focus on H7N9 bird flu transmission mystery – CTV News story – available here.
  • April 17An additional 19 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with the avian influenza A(H7N9) virus are reported in various Chinese provinces – available here.
  • April 12 – The Canadian Public Health Agency issued an updated press release noting the low risk of the A(H7N9) virus to Canadians; however, cautioned Canadians to take preventative measures to protect themselves from influenza – available here.
  • April 11 – The National Health and Family Planning Commission notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of an additional 10 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with A(H7N9) virus here.
h7n9

H7N9 spread as of April 15th 2013

Summary, Risks, and Recommendations

China has now seen 103 A(H7N9) laboratory confirmed infections – 20 have succumbed to the illness.  Researchers in China are currently exploring the possibility of human-to-human transmission as certain cases of A(H7N9) have appeared to be contracted with no exposure to poultry.  Canadian provincial health officers have stated that the level of risk to Canadians is still considered to be low, with reported cases limited to several different provinces in China.  Canada does not import raw poultry from China, thereby further reducing the possible risk of the virus spreading.  However, Canadian health authorities are still recommending Canadians practice good hand hygiene and washing hands regularly, coughing or sneezing into your sleeve, and staying home when sick to reduce your chance of getting sick or passing illness on to others.

Statistics

  • Total confirmed cases: 103
  • Total fatalities: 20
  • Countries with infection – China

Additional Information

Thank you for checking our weekly Avian Influenza summary, please check back for future updates. For more information, please visit http://www.bccdc.ca/default.htm

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