China has reportedly downgraded H7N9 bird flu in humans, dropping its description as “infectious” in new guidelines on how to deal with the disease, even as new cases spike with the onset of winter.
The National Health and Family Planning Commission described it as a “communicable acute respiratory disease” in its 2014 diagnosis and treatment protocols.
In the 2013 version it was considered as an “infectious disease”.
The Beijing Times on Monday quoted an unnamed Beijing disease control centre official saying that health authorities decided to “make the downgrade” on the basis that nearly a year of analysis had shown H7N9 was “not strongly infectious”.
China calls for more efforts against H7N9
Ahead of "Year of the Horse" celebrations, China gears up precautions to prevent and control the H7N9 bird flu epidemic in the country.
...Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Liu Yandong called on Monday for further precautions to prevent and control the H7N9 bird flu epidemic in the country.
…In 2013, China had 144 cases, including 46 deaths, from H7N9 bird flu, according to figures from the Commission.
She urged for strengthening epidemic surveillance and early warnings on all infectious diseases, during the Spring Festival holiday, which is expected to attract people to the large cities.
…"China will strengthen monitoring on live poultry, continue vaccine research and development, tighten international communication and cooperation in epidemic prevention and control, and publicize disease information in a timely manner," said Liu.
Poultry trading halted in eastern China after new H7N9 cases
Authorities in eastern China announced a ban Tuesday on live poultry sales. The move followed an increase in the number of people infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu. The virus has killed 19 people in China so far this year out of 96 infections, AP quoted Feng Zijian, the deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as saying. More than 50 cases had been reported a week ago, and most cases have been linked to contact with poultry. The jump in cases comes during the 40-day travel period around Chinese New Year.
Analysis of new H7N9 wave warns of coinfection threat
...Though ongoing H7N9 influenza activity in China—with eight new cases reported today—is mainly a zoonotic event, its parallel rise with seasonal flu poses a virus reassortment threat, according to a new assessment today from European health officials.
...Though the H7N9 virus doesn't appear to have the capacity for efficient human-to-human spread, new reassortants with seasonal flu strains could arm it with the ability to transmit more easily, a situation that bears close monitoring, the organization added.
Seasonal flu activity is at high levels and still increasing in China, with all three strains circulating, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday in its global flu update. In southern China the dominant strains are H3N2 and the 2009 H1N1 virus, while the northern part is seeing mainly 2009 H1N1.