HCPLive Network

Most Patients with Confirmed Avian Flu Critically Ill

THURSDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- Most Chinese patients with confirmed avian influenza A (H7N9) are critically ill and 21 percent have died, according to a preliminary report published online April 24 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Qun Li, MD, from the Public Health Emergency Center, in Beijing, and colleagues characterized the epidemiologic characteristics of 82 H7N9 cases in China as of April 17, 2013, using data obtained from field investigations. The presence of the virus was verified among cases by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase-chain-reaction, viral isolation, or serologic testing.

The authors found that the cases (age 2 to 89 years; 73 percent male; 84 percent urban residents) with confirmed H7N9 virus infection were identified in six areas of China. Four of the 77 cases with available data were poultry workers and 77 percent had a history of exposure to live animals, mainly chickens (76 percent). After a median duration of 11 days, 17 patients died (21 percent); 60 patients remained critically ill; four clinically mild cases were discharged from the hospital; and one pediatric patient was not hospitalized. Human-to-human viral transmission could not be ruled out in two family clusters. A seven-day monitoring period was completed for 1,251 of the 1,689 close contacts of case patients. Of these, 19 developed respiratory symptoms but all were negative for H7N9.

"Most persons with confirmed H7N9 virus infection were critically ill and epidemiologically unrelated," the authors write. "Laboratory-confirmed human-to-human H7N9 virus transmission was not documented among close contacts, but such transmission could not be ruled out in two families."

Full Text

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Further Reading
Antiviral resistance has been identified in some patients with a novel influenza A subtype H7N9 virus (A/H7N9).
The strain of bacterial meningitis that killed a Drexel University student earlier this month is the same strain behind a Princeton University outbreak last year, federal health officials said Tuesday. This suggests that the outbreak strain might still be present in the Princeton community and that the situation requires close monitoring, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vaccinations have prevented an estimated 732,000 deaths, 21 million hospitalizations, and 322 million illnesses among US children born in the last 20 years, according to a government report published in the April 25 issue of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Measles cases in the United States are at a 20-year high so far this year. And nearly all the cases involve unvaccinated US residents who've traveled abroad to countries where the disease is much more prevalent, federal health officials said Thursday.
Influenza vaccination likely prevented more than 13 million illnesses and more than 100,000 hospitalizations from 2005 to 2011.
A third US man from Illinois has tested positive for the MERS virus but shows no signs of the illness, federal health officials reported Saturday.
Higher blood lead concentrations are associated with increased risk of behavioral problems among Chinese preschoolers, according to a study published online June 30 in JAMA Pediatrics.
More Reading