WHO: Global Alert and Response (GAR) – Disease Outbreak News
Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – update 25 April 2013
As of 25 April 2013 (16:30 CET), one laboratory-confirmed case of human infection with the virus has been reported by the Taipei Centres for Disease Control (CDC).
The patient is a 53-year-old man who had been working in Jiangsu province from 28 March to 9 April 2013. He returned from Jiangsu via Shanghai on 9 April 2013, and became ill on 12 April 2013. The patient was laboratory confirmed with the virus on 24 April 2013.
To date, a total of 109 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus including 22 deaths have been reported to WHO. Contacts of the confirmed cases are being closely monitored….
Investigations into the possible sources of infection and reservoirs of the virus are ongoing. Until the source of infection has been identified, it is expected that there will be further cases of human infection with the virus. So far, there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission.
WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event, nor does it recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied.
A team of international and Chinese experts has completed its mission to visit Shanghai and Beijing and assess the avian influenza A (H7N9) situation, and to make recommendations to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
International H7N9 assessment team completes mission to China
Media Release: http://www.wpro.who.int/china/mediacentre/releases/2013/20130424/en/index.html
Joint press conference on the China-WHO Joint Mission on H7N9 Assessment
Opening statement by Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Security
24 April 2013
“…Almost all cases have been sporadic cases, but a few family clusters have been identified. However, we are not sure if the clusters were caused by common exposure to a source of virus or due to limited person to person transmission. Evidence so far is not sufficient to conclude there is person to person transmission. Moreover, no sustained person to person transmission has been found.
We want to note that if limited person to person transmission is demonstrated in the future, it will not be surprising. Enhancing surveillance is the way to early detect such occurrence.
The situation remains complex and difficult and is evolving. WHO will continue to work closely with China in combating this new threat.
For next steps to prevent and control H7N9, the joint mission team would like to make following recommendations.
– First, it is important to undertake intense and focused investigations to determine the source(s) of human H7N9 infections with a view to taking urgent action to prevent continuing virus spread and its potentially severe consequences for human and animal health.
– Second, it is critical to maintain a high level of alert, preparedness and response for the H7N9 virus even though human cases might drop in the summer, as occurs with many other avian influenza viruses, because of the seriousness of the risk posed by this virus and because much basic information remains unknown.
– Third, it is critical to continue to conduct and strengthen both epidemiological and laboratory-based surveillance in human and animals in all Provinces of China to identify changes that might indicate the virus is spreading geographically and gaining the ability to infect people more easily.
– Fourth, it is important to ensure that there is frequent two-way sharing of information, close and timely communications and, when appropriate, coordinated or joint investigations and research between ministries of health, agriculture and forestry because this threat requires the combined efforts of these sectors.
– Fifth, it is important to continue high level scientific collaborations, communications and sharing of sequence data and viruses with WHO and international partners because the threat of H7N9 is also an international shared risk and concern.
– Sixth, it is important to encourage and foster the scientific and epidemiological studies and research needed to close major gaps in critical knowledge and understanding…