China reports bird flu in humans

China reports bird flu in humans Source: CDC Global

Hot on the heels of the coronavirus pandemic comes news that China reports bird flu in humans with 13 cases so far this year.

The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) announced on Thursday April 21 an additional human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in the Mainland, a 56-year-old male living in Deyang City in Sichuan Province.

It is understood that the man had exposure to live domestic poultry before the onset of the virus. He developed symptoms on March 31 and was admitted to hospital on April 4, where he remains in a serious condition.

With only 77 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) reported by Mainland health authorities, the high number reported in 2022 will be of concern to health authorities.

Avian influenza is caused as the name suggests by viruses that mainly affect birds and poultry, such as chickens or ducks.

In humans bird flu ranges from flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches) to severe respiratory illness (chest infection). Eye infection (conjunctivitis) and gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea). The incubation period ranges from seven to 10 days, with the more virulent forms resulting in respiratory failure, multi-organ failure and even death.

Advice has been issued by health officials in Hong Kong who say the public should maintain strict personal, hand, food and environmental hygiene when working with and or preparing meals involving birds such as chickens and ducks. This advice includes:

  • Avoid touching the bird and in particular their bodily fluids and droppings
  • When buying live chickens, do not touch them and their droppings.
  • Eggs covered with fecal matter should be washed with a detergent
  • Wash your hands after working with pultry, live or those being prepared for cooking
  • Eggs should be fully cooked, do not eat raw or partially cooked eggs
  • Poultry must be full cooked, no blood or pink meat
  • Wash hands frequently, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes
  • Wear a mask if fever or respiratory symptoms develop or while taking care of patients with fever or respiratory symptoms.

With Covid-19 fresh in the memories of everyone the reports of an increase in China of bird flu in humans will be worrying, especially at a time when all restrictions around the pandemic have been lifted.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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