Health Information Update

Source: WHO, Event Information Site for IHR National Focal

Event Updates:  19 May 2017

Event Updated 19 May
Country China
Hazard Zoonosis
Disease Influenza due to identified avian or animal influenza A (H7N9) virus
IHR Assessment Public Health Risk*
Event Description On Friday 13 May 2017, the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China (NHFPC) notified WHO of 23 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus in mainland China. Onset dates ranged from 11 April – 6 May 2017.
Demographic Profile:
23 cases, ten were female. The median age was 58 years (range 31 to 83 years). 

Distribution of Cases:

Beijing(2)        Fujian(1) Gansu(1)
Hebei(5) Henan(3) Hubei(1)
Jiangsu(2) Shaanxi(3) Sichuan(3)
Tianjin(1) Zhejiang(1)  


At the time of notification, there were:

–    seven (7) deaths

–    fifteen (15) cases were diagnosed as having either pneumonia (5) or severe pneumonia (10)

–    one (1) case was mild



–    Nineteen (19) cases had exposure to poultry or live poultry market

–    one (1) case have had visited a patient with H7N9 in the hospital

–    one (1) case had both exposure to live poultry and a contact with a confirmed case

–    two (2) were have had no known poultry exposure.


To date, a total of 1,486 laboratory-confirmed human infections with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus have been reported through IHR notification since early 2013.

Measures Taken:

1.    Videoconference with some key epidemic provinces to provide H7N9 epidemic information and guidance on strengthening risk assessment and prevention and control measures. 

2.    Control measures focusing on hygienic management of live poultry markets and cross-regional transportation.  

3.    Detailed source investigations to inform effective prevention and control measures.

4.    Detect and treat cases of human infection with avian influenza early to reduce mortality

5.    Risk communication and issue information notices to guide the public on self-protection.

6.    Virology surveillance to better understand virus contamination levels and mutations, in order to provide further guidance for prevention and control


WHO risk assessment: 
The number of human infections with avian influenza A(H7N9) and the geographical distribution in the fifth epidemic wave (i.e. onset since 1 October 2016) is greater than earlier waves. This suggests that the virus is spreading, and emphasizes that further intensive surveillance and control measures in both human and animal health sector are crucial.
Current epidemiological and virological evidence suggests that this virus has not acquired the ability of sustained transmission among humans. Therefore the likelihood of further community level spread is considered low.
Close analysis of the epidemiological situation and further characterization of the most recent viruses are critical to assess associated risk and to adjust risk management measures in a timely manner.


WHO advises against the application of any travel or trade restrictions on China based on the current information available on this event.

* A public health risk is something that is (or is likely to be) hazardous to human health or could contribute to a disease or an infectious condition in humans.