Patient traveled to China with first case; both have recovered without hospitalization

Washington, D.C., 2 February 2015 (PAHO/WHO) The Government of Canada has confirmed a second human case of avian influenza A(H7N9). The individual had traveled to China with the index case confirmed on 27 January.

The pair were exposed to live poultry during their travels, although they had no direct contact with poultry. Both were treated with antiviral therapy and have recovered from acute respiratory symptoms without requiring hospitalization.

Avian influenza A(H7N9) is a subtype of influenza A viruses that have been detected in birds in the past. The virus was first seen in people in China in March 2013. Since then, nearly 500 human cases have been reported, nearly all of them from China. Most patients have become severely ill, and to date 185 have died.

Canadian health officials are tracing and monitoring the household and healthcare contacts of the two confirmed cases, while WHO continues to closely monitor the H7N9 situation and conduct risk assessment. The overall risk associated with the H7N9 virus has not changed.

PAHO/WHO advice

PAHO/WHO advises that travelers to countries with known outbreaks of avian influenza should avoid poultry farms, contact with animals in live bird markets, and any areas where poultry may be slaughtered. They should also avoid contact with any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals. Travelers should also wash their hands often with soap and water and should follow good food safety and food hygiene practices.

PAHO/WHO does not advise screening at points of entry with regard to this event, nor does it currently recommend any travel or trade restrictions.

A diagnosis of infection with an avian influenza virus should be considered in individuals who develop severe acute respiratory symptoms while traveling or soon after returning from an area where avian influenza is a concern.

PAHO/WHO encourages countries to continue strengthening influenza surveillance, including surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI), and to carefully review any unusual patterns, in order to ensure reporting of human infections under the IHR and continue national health preparedness actions.