Weekly Avian Influenza A(H7N9) virus update: April 30, 2013
Several additional laboratory-confirmed human infections with the avian influenza A(H7N9) virus were reported since last week. Moreover, a new case was reported in Taiwan – the first infection that has occurred outside of China. There is now a total of 126 laboratory–confirmed A(H7N9) cases including 24 deaths. There is still no strong evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus; however, there are still some cases where human-to-human transmission has not been ruled out. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the United States, has warned Chinese health officials that they must be ready for the virus to mutate at any time.
- April 26 – The Public Health Agency of Canada issued an Avian Influenza A(H7N9) ‘Interim Guidance’ document to provide infection prevention and control guidance to healthcare organizations in Canada – located here.
- April 25 – A Global News story on ‘Why the WHO is calling the A(H7N9) one of the ‘most lethal’ flu viruses so far’ can be read here.
- April 24 – Dr. Keiji Fukuda’s opening statement at the joint press conference on the China-World Health Organization Joint Mission on A(H7N9) can be reviewed here.
- April 24 – Taiwan reports first case of A(H7N9) infection – available here.
Summary, Risks, and Recommendations
Most new A(H7N9) infections have been contained to China; however, a new case was reported in Taiwan this past week. Expert researchers around the world are 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 issued updated preventative procedures for Canadian healthcare organizations and citizens. Moreover, the Public Health Agency of Canada is currently determining if antiviral drugs are effective against the virus; they’re also actively developing and testing new vaccines. Although there is emerging research that suggests the possibility to human-to-human transmission of the virus, the Public Health Agency of Canada is still reporting that the risk of infection to Canadians is low.
- Total confirmed cases: 126
- Total fatalities: 24
- Countries with infection – China, Taiwan
Thank you for checking our weekly Avian Influenza summary, please check back next week on May 6th for next week’s update. For more information, please visit http://www.bccdc.ca/default.htm