Bird flu fears as China experiences two deaths after 5 new H5N6 circumstances as WHO requires ‘pressing’ motion

CHINA has reported two deaths from chicken flu after 5 new H5N6 circumstances had been confirmed, with the WHO calling for “urgent” motion.

A bounce within the variety of individuals contaminated with chicken flu in China final yr has raised concern amongst specialists, who warned the pressure could possibly be extra infectious to people.

Two people have now died in China from bird flu, while the other three remain in hospital


Two individuals have now died in China from chicken flu, whereas the opposite three stay in hospitalCredit: AFP
Staff inject chickens with a bird flu vaccine


Staff inject chickens with a chicken flu vaccineCredit: Reuters

The Hong Kong Health Department stated 5 individuals in Sichuan province, Zhejiang province, and the Guangxi Autonomous Region had been contaminated with the avian influenza pressure in December final yr.

Two individuals have now died, whereas the opposite three stay in hospital combating for his or her lives, officers stated in an announcement.

A 75-year-old man from Luzhou in Sichuan province fell unwell on December 1 after publicity to stay home poultry.

He was rushed to hospital 4 days later and died on December 12.

A 54-year-old man from Leshan in the identical province additionally fell unwell on December 8 and died three weeks in a while December 24.

He was additionally reported to have a historical past of publicity to stay home poultry.

A 51-year-old girl from Hangzhou in Zhejiang province then turned sick on December 15 after publicity to stay home poultry.

She was taken to hospital on December 18 and authorities stated she is in a crucial situation.

The different two circumstances have been recorded in Liuzhou – a metropolis in Guangxi Autonomous Region, the Hong Kong Health Department stated.

A 53-year-old man with a historical past of publicity to useless poultry fell unwell on December 19 and stays in hospital in a critical situation.

A 28-year-old man from the identical metropolis additionally fell unwell on December 23 and is claimed to be in a crucial situation.

It was not instantly clear how the second man was contaminated.

Since 2014, 65 individuals have been contaminated with H5N6 chicken flu – however greater than half of these had been reported previously six months.

The WHO stated many of the circumstances had come into contact with poultry, and there have been no confirmed circumstances of human-to-human transmission.

But it stated additional investigation was “urgently” wanted to know the chance and perceive the rising variety of human circumstances.

Thijs Kuiken, professor of comparative pathology at Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, beforehand warned: “The improve in human circumstances in China this yr is of concern. It’s a virus that causes excessive mortality.

“It could be that this variant is a little more infectious (to people)… or there could be more of this virus in poultry at the moment and that’s why more people are getting infected.”


China is the world’s largest poultry producer and prime producer of geese, which act as a reservoir for flu viruses.

Backyard farms in China are nonetheless widespread and many individuals nonetheless favor to purchase stay chickens at markets.

Although avian influenza viruses continuously flow into in home and wild birds, they not often infect individuals.

But the evolution of the viruses, which have elevated as poultry populations develop, is a significant concern as they might change right into a virus that spreads simply between individuals and trigger a pandemic.

In November final yr, the UK well being authorities issued a warning to travellers to China in regards to the threat of chicken flu.

Dr Gavin Dabrera, a Consultant in Acute Respiratory Infections at UKHSA stated: “Anyone visiting China ought to keep away from publicity to any birds or stay birds in ‘wet markets’ as a precaution.

“We proceed to encourage individuals to keep away from touching useless or dying birds and keep good hand hygiene whereas travelling.

“Avian influenza remains a risk in China and if travellers experience any flu like symptoms within 10 days of returning from China, they should call their GP or NHS 111 and report their recent travel.”

What is chicken flu?

Bird flu is an infectious kind of influenza that spreads amongst birds. In uncommon circumstances, it might probably have an effect on people.

There are numerous completely different strains of chicken flu virus and most of them do not infect people. But there are 4 strains which have brought about concern in recent times, in response to the NHS.

  • H5N1 (since 1997)
  • H7N9 (since 2013)
  • H5N6 (since 2014)
  • H5N8 (since 2016)

Although H5N1, H7N9 and H5N6 do not infect people simply, a number of individuals have been contaminated world wide, resulting in quite a lot of deaths.

H5N6 has been present in some wild birds within the UK – however this can be a completely different pressure to the H5N6 virus that has contaminated some individuals in China.

Bird flu is unfold by shut contact with an contaminated chicken – useless or alive.

This consists of:

  • touching contaminated birds
  • touching droppings or bedding
  • killing or making ready contaminated poultry for cooking

It’s essential to notice you possibly can’t catch chicken flu by consuming absolutely cooked poultry or eggs, even in areas with an outbreak of chicken flu.

If you are visiting a international nation that is had an outbreak it’s best to:

  • wash your fingers usually with heat water and cleaning soap, particularly earlier than and after dealing with meals, specifically uncooked poultry
  • use completely different utensils for cooked and uncooked meat
  • make certain meat is cooked till steaming sizzling
  • keep away from contact with stay birds and poultry

The principal signs of chicken flu can seem in a short time and embrace:

  • a really excessive temperature or feeling sizzling or shivery
  • aching muscle mass
  • headache
  • a cough or shortness of breath
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