Reinforcing control efforts amid outbreak of avian influenza in China

FAO

A resurgent outbreak of a new strain of avian influenza that can be lethal for humans stresses the need for robust and rapid detection and response systems at animal source, to reduce the risk associated with virus spread and impacts on public health, according to Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Organisation for Animal Health.

Human cases of the H7N9 virus, first detected in China four years ago, have suddenly increased since December 2016. As of early March 2017, there have been more reported human cases of influenza A (H7N9) than those caused by other types of avian influenza viruses (H5N1, H5N6, etc.) combined.

Most of the patients infected reported a history of visiting live bird markets or coming into contact with infected birds. Since 2013, China has invested heavily in surveillance of live bird markets and poultry farms. However the surveillance of this virus has proven particularly challenging as until recently it has shown no or few signs of disease in chickens.

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