Weekly H7N9 Virus Update

H7N9

Flu Update
Weekly Avian Influenza A (H7N9) virus update: May 8, 2013

Introduction
Health officials in China have reported several additional A(H7N9) infections since last week; the outbreak’s total laboratory-confirmed infection count is 130 of which 31 people have died from the virus.  On May 5th, China’s Ministry of Agriculture reported that five more poultry samples tested positive for A(H7N9); there is still no strong evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus. The World Health Organization is not recommending any travel or trade restrictions.

Key Alerts

  • May 7 – The WHO released an A(H7N9) update yesterday – available here.
  • May 6 – The Public Health Agency of Canada updated Canadians on their current risk management plans with respect to the virus – available here.
  • May 6 – China reports two new A(H7N9) cases – available here.
  • May 1 – Scientists are concerned the virus is killing a fifth of those infected – a Guardian news story is available here.

Summary, Risks, and Recommendations
Of primary concern to most doctors and scientists is the potential for human-to-human transmission of the A(H7N9) virus.  Although new infections are emerging on a weekly basis, most leading centres for disease control are indicating that there is no serious threat for human-to-human transmission.  In particular, the United States Centre for Disease Control has issued a press release noting that this particular strain, at the moment, poses no real threat of launching a pandemic.  Dr. Thomas Frieden, of the US CDC, noted that roughly 2000 people have been exposed to the disease; however, very few of these people became infected with the virus.  Although the current risk assessment of the potential for human-to-human transmission is low, experts are still cautioning that a mutation of the virus could easily enable person-to-person transfer.

Statistics
Total confirmed cases: 130
Total fatalities: 31
Countries with infection – China, Taiwan

Additional Information
Thank you for checking our weekly Avian Influenza summary, please check back next week for Iridia Medical’s update on the A(H7N9) virus.  For more information, please visit http://www.bccdc.ca/default.htm