Human infections with novel influenza A (H7N9) viruses
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Human infections with novel influenza A (H7N9) viruses

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    April 5, 2013, 10:00 a.m. ET


    As of April 4, 2013, Chinese public health officials have reported 14 cases of human infection with a novel avian influenza A (H7N9) virus from four different provinces in China. All patients were hospitalized with severe respiratory illness, and six persons have died. These are the first human infections identified with an avian influenza A (H7N9) virus infection. Six cases are from Shanghai, one is from Anhui Province, four are from Jiangsu Province, and three are from Zhejiang Province. Thirteen cases are in adults aged 27 through 87 years, and one case is in a child aged 4 years; all cases had illness onset from February 19 through March 31, 2013. No person-to-person transmission or epidemiologic link between any of the cases has been identified. We are aware of reports of possible sources of infection but these have not been confirmed. We are investigating and will provide that information when it is available.

    Preliminary functional data of the isolated viruses from the first 3 cases suggest that they are likely susceptible to neuraminidase inhibitors. Investigations by Chinese public health officials are ongoing.

    These cases are a reminder that novel A influenza viruses can infect and cause severe respiratory illness in humans. Novel influenza A viruses are influenza viruses that are different from currently circulating human influenza A virus subtypes and include influenza viruses from predominantly avian and swine origin. In recent years, human infections with highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) virus in several Asian countries and Egypt, highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H7N3) virus in Mexico, and variant influenza A (H3N2)v viruses in the United States have been reported.

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