Avian Influenza – China

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A 30 y.o. woman from Guangdong province, China was infected with avian influenza A(H9N2) virus.

The disease is transmitted human to human. On average, the incubation time is 2-5 days.Symptoms are fever, cough, severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, shock and even death.

To date, 12 cases have been reported from China in 2021, and a total of 54 cases have been reported in the Western Pacific Region since December 2015. The number of infected is believed to be significantly higher, because most people in China (or elsewhere) who get minor-to-moderate flu-like symptoms never bother to see a doctor, or get tested.

Photo: H5N1 virus colorized micrograph, viruses are gold colored in MDCK cells (green).

Avian influenza is deadly to most birds, but it can also be deadly to humans and other animals that catch the virus (poultry farming). Since the first human case in 1997, H5N1 has killed nearly 60% of those who have been infected. Unlike human flu, avian flu does not spread easily from person to person.

Avian influenza subtypes H5N8, H5N5, H5N3, and H5N1 are currently circulating mostly in the European continent (for now). The pathogens have been detected in wild birds and these viruses are being distributed wherever wild birds migrate.

Poultry producers are recommended to implement bio-security measures necessary to protect their flocks and humans from exposure and infection.

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