China confirms medical worker dies from H7N9 virus: cases spike in China

January 21, 2014CHINA The 31-year-old man died on Jan. 18, according to a statement on the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning website today. The city has reported 7 cases of H7N9 infections this year, the statement said. Human cases of H7N9 were first reported in China in March and spiked in April before agriculture authorities temporarily closed live poultry markets to limit human exposure. The Geneva-based World Health Organization counted 139 laboratory-confirmed cases and 45 deaths as of Nov. 6. “It’s always a concern when health workers die,” said Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the World Health Organization in Geneva. “Hospitals and other medical facilities are a flash point for human-to-human transmission. We would be very much wanting to follow up in as much detail as possible on this case.” Even though H7N9 hasn’t mutated to become as contagious as seasonal flu, strains that emerge in China are of special interest to researchers. The 1957-58 Asian Flu and 1968-69 Hong Kong Flu pandemics were first identified in the world’s most populous nation. Another bird flu strain known as H5N1 is thought to have come from the southern province of Guangdong in 1996. “We need more evidence before increasing our level of concern,” said Ben Cowling, an associate professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Hong Kong’s school of public health on the Shanghai medical worker’s death. “We know that there’s always potential risk for health-care workers treating cases of H7N9 to be infected, so it’s not unexpected.”
Laboratory experiments using ferrets — the most-common animal model for human flu infections — have shown that the virus is capable of spreading from person to person. Some small family clusters have been reported and there is no evidence of sustainable human-to-human transmission, the World Health Organization said in December.  H7N9 has turned up outside mainland China, in locations such as Hong Kong. The virus can circulate widely in chickens, ducks and geese without causing the mass die-offs characteristic of the H5N1 bird flu virus. Its stealth made it difficult to track and contain a germ that’s typically more active during the colder winter months, scientists have said. Malik Peiris, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong, in an October interview predicted a spike in H7N9 cases over the winter season and said it could possibly peak over the Chinese New Year because the holiday is a time of maximum poultry production. China’s New Year holiday begins Jan. 31. –Bloomberg
H7N9 cases spike in China: Another 23 people in China have been infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu in recent days, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday, adding to at least 24 new cases last week and confirming a fresh surge in the virus. Among the new 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 the hospital. Many of the other new patients were either in a serious or critical condition in hospitals, the WHO said. Several had reported recent exposure to poultry or poultry markets, but the WHO said the source of infections was still under investigation. 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 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.” –CBS
Advertisements
This entry was posted in Civilizations unraveling, Disease outbreak, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Environmental Threat, Extreme Weather Event, Food chain unraveling, High-risk potential hazard zone, New virus reported, Pestilence Watch, Prophecies referenced, Time - Event Acceleration. Bookmark the permalink.

All comments are moderated. We reserve the right not to post any comment deemed defamatory, inappropriate, or spam.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s