(Victor Valley)– On April 1, 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported three human infections with a new influenza A (H7N9) virus in China. These are the first known human infections with this avian influenza strain. The virus has also been detected in birds from poultry markets in China. As of April 25, 2013, a total of 109 human cases have been reported. Most cases have severe respiratory illness, and 22 have died. New cases continue to be reported and case counts are likely to increase (updates are available at the WHO website: http://www.who.int/csr/don/en/).
At this time, no human cases of the new influenza A (H7N9) virus has been detected outside of China. With the large volume of international travel between California and China, cases of the new influenza A (H7N9) virus are likely to occur.
While investigations are ongoing, no person-to-person transmission or links between any of the cases have been identified thus far. At this time, no vaccine is available for the new influenza A (H7N9) virus. Antiviral treatment is most effective when started as soon as possible after symptoms begin.
Additional information on the novel influenza A (H7N9) virus is available on the following websites:
- WHO Situation Updates: http://www.who.int/csr/don/en/
- CDC Health Advisory (April 5, 2013): http://emergency.cdc.gov/HAN/han00344.asp
- CDC avian influenza A (H7N9) information page: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/h7n9-virus.htm
- CDC interim guidance for infection control: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/h7n9-infection-control.htm
For more information about avian influenza, please contact the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health, Communicable Disease Section at 1-800-722-4794.