Published Date: 2009-01-21 17:00:43
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Avian influenza, human (12): China (GZ)
Archive Number: 20090121.0263
AVIAN INFLUENZA, HUMAN (12): CHINA (GUIZHOU)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Wed 21 Jan 2009
Source: Associated Press report [edited]
China's top health official on Tuesday [20 Jan 2009] ordered stronger
measures to prevent the spread of bird flu, as the country announced
its 3rd fatality from the H5N1 [avian influenza] virus in a month.
The World Health Organization, meanwhile, said the cases were a
"perfectly normal occurrence" during colder months. Chinese Health
Minister Chen Zhu said health departments across the nation need to
pay "great attention" to stepping up efforts to stop the disease
before it sickens more people, especially at the peak of the Lunar
New Year travel rush, when tens of millions of people were making
their way home to rural areas. "It is the high season for human cases
of bird flu. There is a severe need for the prevention of more
cases," Chen said in a conference call to ministry officials. He said
health officials need to be made fully aware of the risk and harm
associated with bird flu, increase monitoring, strengthen clinical
diagnoses and treatment, and report outbreaks in a timely manner.
His call to action came as state media announced the death of a
16-year-old student in Hunan province in central China. The boy had
been in critical condition and died Tuesday [20 Jan 2009] morning,
the official Xinhua News Agency said. He fell ill on 8 Jan 2009 in
his hometown in the neighboring province of Guizhou and was
transferred to a hospital in Huaihua, a city in Hunan, on 16 Jan
2009, when his condition worsened. He had contact with dead poultry,
the report said without giving other details.
The 2 other bird flu deaths were a 27-year-old woman in Shandong
province in the country's east who died on Saturday [17 Jan 2009] and
a 19-year-old woman who died in Beijing on 5 Jan 2009.
Until this month [January 2009], no new human infections had been
reported in China since February 2007 [This should read 2008. -
Mod.CP]. Peter Cordingley, the WHO's Asia spokesman, said the latest
cases were a "perfectly predictable event. The virus always starts to
get active this time of year," he said. According to the WHO, bird
flu has killed 249 people worldwide since 2003. The tally does not
include Tuesday's [20 Jan 2009] death in China, where a total of 34
infections have been reported.
The disease remains hard for humans to catch, but scientists have
warned if outbreaks among poultry are not controlled, the virus may
mutate into a form more easily passed between people, potentially
sparking a pandemic.
[Byline: Andrea Ang]
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Mary Marshall
Date: Wed 21 Jan 2009
Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP) report [edited]
China sought Wednesday [21 Jan 2009] to allay fears over the threat
of a bird flu pandemic after 3 people died from the disease this
month [January 2009] and a 4th person remained critically ill. There
was no evidence that the potential for an outbreak of the disease was
on the rise, China's health ministry said in a statement faxed to
AFP. "The 4 cases separately came from different provinces; there is
no epidemiological connection between them; they are sporadic cases,"
the ministry said.
A 16-year-old boy died on Tuesday [20 Jan 2009] from the H5N1 strain
of avian influenza in the central province of Hunan [See above,
infection contracted in Guizhou province.].
A 27-year-old woman also succumbed to the disease on Saturday [17 Jan
2009] in the eastern province of Shandong, while the 1st fatality
occurred on 5 Jan 2009 when a 19-year-old woman died in Beijing.
A 2-year-old girl, meanwhile, is still critically ill in the northern
province of Shanxi, the health ministry said. The toddler's mother
died this month [January 2009] of severe pneumonia, sparking concern
that she may actually have had bird flu and passed it on to her
daughter. The health ministry said it was unable to do tests to
confirm whether the mother had died of avian influenza, as no samples
were collected when she passed away. But it added it was unlikely the
girl caught bird flu from her mother. "We cannot be sure that the
patient's mother had bird flu, and investigations show the patient
had been exposed to live poultry markets," the statement said.
"Therefore, we believe the patient's infection most likely came from
a live poultry market or another unknown exposure."
China is considered one of the nations most at risk from bird flu
epidemics because it has the world's largest poultry population, and
many chickens in rural areas are kept close to humans.
The World Health Organisation says about 250 people have died from
bird flu worldwide since 2003. The total number of reported deaths in
China since the virus re-emerged in 2003 now stands at 23.
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Dan Silver
[The 4 human cases of avian influenza reported during the 1st 3 weeks
of January 2009, the 1st in China since February 2008, occurred in 4
different provinces and appear to be unconnected. In all cases, there
is evidence of contact with diseased poultry. There is no evidence of
human-to-human transmission of infection from affected individuals to
their contacts or care givers. The question of whether the 2-year-old
child may have contracted infection from her mother remains
unresolved, since no clinical samples from the mother are available.
The death of the 16-year-old boy reported above is the 23rd fatality
among the 34 cases of avian A/H5N1 virus infection recorded in China.
Three of the 4 cases identified in the 1st weeks of 2009 have died,
and the 4th remains in critical condition.
A map of the provinces of China is available at
<http://www.sacu.org/provmap.html>, and the HealthMap/ProMED-mail
interactive map of China is available at
<http://healthmap.org/promed/en?v=36.5,103.9,4>. - Mod.CP]