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Posts tagged ‘H7N9’

H7N9 flu vaccine set for mass production in June: Taiwanese firm


Taipei, Feb. 20 (CNA) A Taiwan-made vaccine for the H7N9 strain of avian flu is expected to begin mass production in June this year after completing human trials, Taichung-based Adimmune Corp. said Thursday.

Adimmune, the only human vaccine producer in Taiwan, said it has completed animal trials and will begin a second phase of human trials for its H7N9 vaccine in March.

One of the world’s first GMP vaccine manufacturers to engage in research and development of a vaccine for H7N9, the company said it will be able to produce 3 million doses of the vaccine per month once mass-production has begun.

Even if the Taiwan government does not purchase the vaccines, Adimmune said it will continue with development so that it will be ready to start mass-producing them at any time should there be a need.

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, a total of 353 confirmed H7N9 cases were reported in China and Hong Kong since March 2013, including two exported to Taiwan. There were 78 fatalities in the year.

(By Lung Jui-yun and Jeffrey Wu)


via H7N9 flu vaccine set for mass production in June: Taiwanese firm | Society | FOCUS TAIWAN – CNA ENGLISH NEWS.

Eight more H7N9 cases reported in China

leungchopan / iStockphoto

Eight more H7N9 influenza cases have been reported from four of China’s provinces over the past 3 days, signaling that cases may be leveling off from a burst of infections that appeared to coincide with Lunar New Year activity.

The cases are from four Chinese provinces, according to official notices from Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) and provincial health department notices translated and posted by the FluTrackers infectious disease news message board.

Provincial health ministry reports

Three of the newly confirmed infections involve patients from Guangdong province, one of the main H7N9 hot spots during the second wave of infections. They include a 4-year-old girl, a 79-year-old man, and a 44-year-old man.

Hunan and Anhui provinces each reported two cases. Hunan’s two case-patients include a 46-year-old man whose infection was first reported on Feb 15 and a 64-year-old man whose illness was reported today. The patients from Anhui are a 14-year-old girl whose infection was reported on Feb 15 and a 63-year-old man whose positive H7N9 test was reported the following day.

The eighth case-patient is an 84-year-old man from Jiangsu province whose infection was reported yesterday.

The CHP, which issued statements today and yesterday announcing seven of the new cases, said the patients are receiving treatment in hospitals.

Reports of eight more cases from China lift the number of cases reported in the outbreak’s second wave to 221, compared with 136 reported during the first wave. Also, the new reports boost the overall outbreak total to 357, according to FluTrackers’ running total.

WHO details latest confirmations

In other developments, the World Health Organization (WHO) today posted two updates on H7N9 cases in China, one on seven reports it received from the country on Feb 13 and one on an infection in a Chinese traveler to Malaysia, the first to be detected outside China.

In the report on the seven cases on the mainland, the WHO said all of the patients are male, ranging in age from 8 to 84 years. All of them have a history of exposure to live poultry. Three are hospitalized in critical condition, three are listed as severe, and one patient—an 8-year-old boy—has a mild infection.

Illness onset dates ranged from Jan 28 to Feb 6, according to the WHO.

The WHO’s report on the visitor to Malaysia contained some new details but confirmed other reports. Based on information it received from Malaysia’s health ministry, the WHO said the 67-year-old woman was treated in Guangdong for fever, cough, flu, fatigue, and joint pain 4 days before she traveled to Malaysia. The timing of symptom onset and her travel dates suggest that she was probably exposed to the virus before she arrived in Malaysia.

She and her tour group, which included family members, stayed overnight in Kuala Lumpur upon their Feb 3 arrival in Malaysia and then visited Sabah from Feb 4 to 6.

Malaysia’s health ministry is investigating the woman’s illness, tracing her contacts, and sharing information with Chinese health officials, the report said.

The WHO reiterated its assessment that community spread of the virus from exported H7N9 cases in travelers is unlikely, given that H7N9 so far doesn’t transmit easily among humans. It said more sporadic cases are expected in China and possibly neighboring countries, and it urged travelers to countries with known outbreaks to avoid live poultry settings.

Officials institute more poultry controls

In poultry developments, Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, on Feb 15 temporarily closed poultry markets for 2 weeks to control the spread of H7N9, according to a Feb 14 Associated Press (AP) report. The announcement appeared on provincial government microblog.

The province, along with Zhejiang province, has been among the hardest-hit areas, especially in the second wave of infections.

In other developments, Vietnam’s government is stepping up efforts to prevent the spread of the virus to its poultry, according to recent media reports. The country’s agriculture ministry, after a meeting with officials on Feb 13, announced a ban on Chinese poultry, Than Nien News, a Vietnamese media outlet, reported on Feb 14. During the meeting authorities aired concerns about H7N9 detections in people and poultry in China’s Guangxi province, which borders northern Vietnam.

Local officials have been ordered to boost surveillance and test birds in poultry markets in Vietnam’s northern region, according to the report.

via Eight more H7N9 cases reported in China | CIDRAP.

China reports new H7N9 cases, cities ban poultry trading

A citizen passes by a closed live poultry market in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province, Jan. 24, 2014. Hangzhou announced on Feb. 15 it would permanently stop live poultry trade in the city proper. The measure had already been in place as a temporary ban since Jan. 24, a week before the Spring Festival, China’s lunar New Year. Hangzhou is one of Chinese cities stepping up control of the live poultry trade as the number of human H7N9 bird flu infections continues to rise. (Xinhua/Long Wei)

HEFEI, Feb. 15 — Chinese cities have stepped up control of the live poultry trade as the number of human H7N9 bird flu infections continues to rise.

Health authorities in east China’s Anhui Province on Saturday reported a new human H7N9 infection. A teenage girl was diagnosed in a hospital in Huaining County, Anqing City on Friday. She is in stable condition.

The health department in south China’s Guangdong Province on Saturday also reported two new H7N9 infection cases. A 4-year-old girl in the provincial capital of Guangzhou is in stable condition. The other patient, a 79-year-old man, also in Guangzhou, is said to be critically ill.

The department also announced that two former H7N9 patients in Zhaoqing City were discharged from the hospital after they fully recovered.

Anhui, along with Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces, are the worst-hit regions for the deadly bird flu. Anhui reported one death from the virus on Monday, triggering concerns about more human H7N9 cases in the country in the near future.

There have been more than 120 human H7N9 cases reported in China so far this year, and at least 32 deaths, according to the health ministry’s official tally earlier this week.

Poultry trade has been considered a primary source of human infection for the virus, as most of the diagnosed patients had close contact with poultry.

On Saturday, Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, banned all live poultry markets for two weeks. The ban will be in effect until Feb. 28 as part of the government’s new effort to curb the spread of the H7N9 virus.

Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province, announced on Saturday it would permanently stop live poultry trade in the city proper. The measure had already been in place as a temporary ban since Jan. 24, a week before the Spring Festival, China’s lunar New Year.

The notice issued by the municipal government Saturday specified that the live poultry ban covers both birds sold for meat and as pets. Two of the city’s outlying districts will be allowed to decide whether to lift the ban three months later.

The notice said that the city will set up more designated poultry slaughterhouses to ensure the supply of frozen poultry products.

Chicken and duck dishes are among the most favored foods in China’s eastern and southern regions. The catering industry has been severely dampened by the spread of bird flu.

A popular Korean TV series “My Love From the Star” has partly helped to make up for the industry’s losses. Restaurants in Hangzhou saw a surge in fried chicken sales during snowy weather this month as fans of the drama imitated the show’s heroine, who eats fried chicken with beer during the first snow of the year.

via China reports new H7N9 cases, cities ban poultry trading – People’s Daily Online.

Malaysia reports first H7N9 case outside China


Health officials announced an H7N9 avian flu infection in Malaysia today, the first case detected outside of China, along with eight other newly confirmed cases—one in Hong Kong and seven more from the mainland.

The patients who are sick with H7N9 infections in Hong Kong and Malaysia had travel links to China’s Guangdong province, one of the main hotspots of disease activity in the outbreak’s second wave.

Today’s new cases lift the number of H7N9 cases reported in the second wave, which began in October, to 211, compared with 136 reported during the first wave last spring. For both waves, the total is 347, according to a list of confirmed cases kept by FluTrackers. The unofficial death count remains at 72.

CDC: Malaysia case underscores surveillance priority

Malaysia’s patient is a 67-year-old woman who was part of a tour group from Guangdong province, according to a report today from Bernama, Malaysia’s national news agency. The group was visiting Sabah. The woman is being treated in the intensive care unit at a private hospital in Kota Kinabalu.

The country’s health minister, Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam said it was the first H7N9 case reported in the country and that health officials are taking steps to limit contact with the patient.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today issued a statement on the Malaysian H7N9 case, which said the agency has been expecting the detection of H7N9 cases exported from China, including the scenario of an infected traveler. It said the illness in a traveler to Malaysia doesn’t change its risk assessment for the H7N9 virus.

The CDC said the most important element in gauging the public health threat is transmissibility, and so far there is no evidence of sustained, ongoing person-to-person spread of H7N9. It emphasized, however, that the case underscores how important international surveillance is for H7N9 and other viruses that have pandemic potential.

Human infections in China linked to poultry exposure are likely to continue, the CDC said, and the virus could spread to neighboring countries, where it could infect people who are exposed to poultry. The most worrisome development would be if the virus gained the ability to spread easily among people, a possibility that the CDC said it and other international health partners are closely monitoring.

Hong Kong’s travel-linked case

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said it has detected an H7N9 infection in a 65-year-old resident who started having symptoms while visiting the city of Kaiping in Guangdong province. The case is the fifth H7N9 infection detected so far in Hong Kong, and all have had travel links to China’s mainland.

During the patient’s stay in Kaiping between Jan 24 and Feb 9, his family bought a slaughtered chicken in the village on Jan 29. Upon his return to Hong Kong on Feb 9 he saw a doctor, and yesterday the man was hospitalized and is now in critical condition in an isolation unit, according to a CHP statement.

Seven of the man’s family members in Hong Kong are asymptomatic, and five of them that are close contacts will be admitted to the hospital for observation and testing, the CHP said. Further investigations are under way into the man’s travel and exposure history, and the CHP is working with mainland authorities to identify the man’s contacts during his stay in Kaiping.

Seven new H7N9 cases from the mainland

The seven latest H7N9 cases reported on the mainland include three from Guangdong province, three from Zhejiang, and one from Hunan, according to provincial health ministry reports in Chinese translated and posted by Avian Flu Diary (AFD), an infectious disease news blog, and FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board.

Guangdong province’s patients include an 8-year-old boy who is hospitalized in stable condition, a 46-year-old male farmer who is in critical condition, and a 65-year-old male farmer, also in critical condition.

In Zhejiang province, newly confirmed case-patients are all adult men who work as farmers, including an 84-year-old who is in critical condition, a 58-year-old who is in severe condition, and a 46-year-old who is also in severe condition.

The patient from Hunan province is a 19-year-old man who is hospitalized, according to AFD and FluTrackers.

Five more markets yield positive samples

In other developments, China’s agriculture ministry yesterday reported five more detections of H7N9 in poultry and their environments, according to report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

One was at a livestock market in Guangxi province, an area that recently reported two human cases and shares a border with Vietnam, fueling worries that porous borders and frequent poultry trade could spread the virus beyond the China.

Tests on 261 samples from the market in the Guangxi city of Guigang yielded four positive samples, all from chickens, according to the OIE report.

Elsewhere, surveillance activities in a live-bird market in the Zhejiang province city of Zhuji found 1 positive environmental sample among 19 that were tested, and tests on 42 chicken samples from a live-bird market in the Guangdong province city of Meizhou also found 1 positive. At a wholesale market in Zhuhai in Guangdong, officials took 360 samples and found 2 positives from chickens.

The fifth detection was in from a live-bird market in the Hunan province city of Yueyang. Of 137 specimens collected, officials detected H7N9 in 2 chicken samples and 1 duck sample.

via Malaysia reports first H7N9 case outside China | CIDRAP.

H7N9 illness total grows by 13, with 2 more deaths

aloph / iStockphotoThe Huangshan mountains in Anhui province, which had its first second-wave cases of H7N9 avian flu.

Over the past 3 days, China reported 13 new H7N9 influenza infections, 2 of them fatal, from a broad swath of provinces in the eastern part of the country, including the first 2 cases of the second wave from Anhui province.

Most of the new cases involve adults, but two are in children, a 5-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy, both from Guangdong province.

Eight of the 13 cases are from Zhejiang (5) and Guangdong province (3), which have reported by far the most cases in the second wave of infections that began in October. Other provinces reporting fresh cases include Anhui (2), Hunan (2) and Jiangsu (1).

The steady pace of reported infections has propelled the number of cases in the second wave of disease activity to 201, well above the 136 people who were sickened in the first wave after H7N9 first emerged last spring.

Also, there so far appears to be no letup in case reporting from China or its individual provinces, despite media reports from a few days ago that said the country’s poultry industry groups have asked health officials to tone down their reports, due to the impact negative publicity is having on poultry sales.

Details of new cases

The patients from Zhejiang province include four men, ages 61, 62, 67, and 68, and one woman, age 47, according to provincial health reports translated and posted by FluTrackers, an infectious disease news message board, and Avian Flu Diary (AFD), an infectious disease news blog.

The three patients from Guangdong province include an 81-year-old woman who died from her infection and the two children, according to FluTrackers and AFD.

Anhui province’s two patients are a 66-year-old man and a 56-year old man who died from his infection on February 7. The two case-patients from Hunan province are a 38-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman.

The new case reported from Jiangsu province is in a 53-year-old man.

The new cases boost the outbreak total to 337, according to a running tally of H7N9 cases kept by FluTrackers. The two fatalities lift the unofficial death count to 71.

WHO gives details on 15 other cases

In related developments, the World Health Organization (WHO) today reported more details about 15 case reports it received from China on Feb 7 and Feb 8.

The report confirmed a family connection with two H7N9 infections reported from Guangxi province, which borders northern Vietnam. It said the 5-year-old boy got sick on Feb 3 and is hospitalized with a mild infection and that he is a close contact of a 41-year-old woman whose infection was reported by the WHO on Feb 7. Media reports have said the woman is the boy’s mother.

Thirteen of the patients had been exposed to live poultry before they got sick. Of the 14 people who have survived their infections so far, eight are hospitalized in critical condition, five are in severe condition, and one—the 5-year-old boy—has a mild illness, according to the WHO.

Patient ages in today’s WHO report range from 5 to 81, and they hail from Beijing and six different provinces, though eight are from Zhejiang and Guangdong, the top two hotspots. Illness onsets range from Jan 20 to Feb 1. One death was reported among the patients, in an 81-year-old man from Fujian province.

Poultry control actions

Meanwhile, a weekly update on H7N9 activity and control measures from the WHO’s Western Pacific Region office (WPRO) said the city of Shenzhen in Guangdong province has announced a market rest period for 2 weeks, from Jan 31 through Feb 13. It said all live-bird markets, including wholesale and retail, are temporarily closed, and poultry are barred from the market.

It added that Shanghai’s live-bird trade suspension took effect on Jan 31 and extends until April 30, and Zhejiang province has temporarily shuttered live-bird markets until Feb 15 in areas in which several human cases have been reported. WPRO said Zhejiang plans to close live-poultry markets in its cities’ main districts permanently as of Jul 1.

During the first wave of infections, live-bird market closures were shown to tamp down the pace of human cases in areas such as Shanghai.

via H7N9 illness total grows by 13, with 2 more deaths | CIDRAP.

WHO weighs H7N9 risk as cases mount

Ivonne Wierink / ThinkstockMost patients in the current H7N9 outbreak wave have had contact with poultry or live-bird markets.

Against the backdrop of four new H7N9 influenza illnesses reported from China today, a detailed look at the second wave of the outbreak reveals that cases are trending slightly younger, with a lower case fatality rate (CFR), though severe pneumonia is still one of the disease’s hallmarks.

So far more than 80 new cases—the large majority from the first of the year—have been reported in the outbreak’s second spike that began in October. Over the past few weeks China has often reported five to seven new cases each day, equaling the pace seen during last spring’s first-wave peak.

Cases trending younger, less deadly?

World Health Organization (WHO) experts said today in their latest risk assessment that most cases in the first wave involved middle-aged or older men, but the age distribution in the new wave isn’t as skewed toward older age-groups. The mean age in the new surge of cases is slightly lower than the first wave: 52 years compared with 58 years.

H7N9 is still striking males more frequently than females, and the CFR is not as high as the outbreak’s first wave, the WHO said. It cautioned, however, that CFR patterns need to be monitored closely, because many of the recently infected patients are still hospitalized. Some milder cases have been reported, but it’s clear that H7N9 infections are marked by rapidly progressing severe pneumonia, according to the risk assessment.

Lab analysis of H7N9 samples from patients, animals, and the environment collected during the second wave shows that the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) genes are similar to viruses from the first wave, the report said. It added that they are also similar to the influenza A/Anhui/1/2013 strain recommended for H7N9 vaccine development.

Tests on a subset of recent viruses to monitor for antiviral resistance have identified no markers linked to resistance to neuraminidase inhibitors, including oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza).

Resistance to frontline treatments such as oseltamivir and zanamivir has been a worry since the outbreak’s early days, when an NA resistance marker was found in one of the first three lab-confirmed H7N9 cases. The resistant viruses have also been linked to treatment failures in some severely ill patients.

Several questions remain about the source of human infections, though most of the evidence points to exposure to infected live poultry and their contaminated environments, the WHO said. It added that most patients who were sickened by H7N9 were exposed to birds or live-poultry markets, that H7N9 viruses from humans are genetically similar to ones collected from birds and the environment, and that live-poultry markets linked to human infections are more likely to yield positive H7N9 samples.

The WHO’s analysis found no increase in the number of illness clusters, including healthcare-associated ones, that would point to any increased risk of human-to-human transmission. It said an investigation into a recent infection in one health worker, presumably that of a 31-year-old doctor from Shanghai whose H7N9 death was reported this week, found that the patient may have been exposed to poultry or a contaminated environment. So far no other H7N9 cases linked to the patient have been identified.

Though the virus doesn’t seem to transmit easily among humans, the detection of several less severe cases during flulike illness surveillance, along with continuing severe cases, shows that continued vigilance is needed, the WHO said. Overall, the public health risk hasn’t changed from the WHO’s last assessment in December.

More sporadic H7N9 cases are expected to be reported in humans, especially with increases in poultry production, trade, and transport in advance of China’s Lunar New Year holiday season and because H7N9 seems to be following a more active winter seasonal pattern seen with other avian influenza viruses, the WHO said. Travel-associated cases could occur, but the agency said the threat of international spread is low, unless the virus adapts for more efficient human-to-human transmission.

China reports four more cases

The four new case-patients from China include a 71-year-old man from Jiangsu province whose illness was reported late yesterday and three from Zhejiang province: a 53-year-old man, a 71-year-old man, and a 63-year-old woman.

According to a translation of a provincial health ministry report posted by the Avian Flu Diary infectious disease news blog, the patients from Zhejiang province are all hospitalized in critical condition. A statement from Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said the patient from Jiangsu province is also hospitalized.

The new cases boost the outbreak total to 220, according to a running tally updated each day with patients’ details by the FluTrackers infectious disease message board. The group’s total includes the case of an asymptomatic child that’s not included in WHO totals. The unofficial number of deaths is 57.

In a related development today, the WHO released more details about five more lab-confirmed cases it received from China on Jan 20. Hong Kong’s CHP had announced only basic information about the cases on Jan 20.

The patients include two people from Shanghai who died from their infections, the 31-year-old male doctor noted above and a 77-year-old man, as well as three patients from Zhejiang province, all who are hospitalized. They are a 55-year-old man, a 71-year-old woman, and a 63-year-old man. One is in serious and two in critical condition. All had been exposed to poultry before they got sick.

Poultry and environmental H7N9 findings

The WHO’s Western Pacific Region office (WPRO) today released a situation update, noting that continued vigilance is needed as case numbers rise, given the Lunar New Year activities and the unpredictable nature of flu viruses.

It also includes the results from China’s agriculture ministry on the latest H7N9 tests in birds and their environments from two of the outbreak’s hot spots: Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces.

In Zhejiang province, tests of 18 of 200 samples from three agricultural products markets and a wholesale market were positive for the H7N9 virus. Serologic testing of 85 samples yielded 7 positives.

In Guangdong province, testing at 151 sites found only 2 positives from two agricultural markets. Serologic testing of 2,192 samples in Guangdong found no positive specimens. The report also mentions positive tests reported earlier this month from a restaurant and live markets in Guangdong province.

via WHO weighs H7N9 risk as cases mount | CIDRAP.

Human transmissions of H7N9 in China sporadic

CHINA – Human-to-human transmission of the H7N9 bird flu virus might occur on a limited scale in China, the World Health Organisation representative to the country said on Monday.

But there is no evidence that the virus will become sustained or widespread among humans, Bernhard Schwartlander said.

China has reported more than 200 human cases of H7N9 since March, the latest ones including a doctor in Shanghai who died from the infection at the weekend, according to statistics released on Monday by the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

“Since October, only one cluster was detected where human-to-human transmission might have occurred. We continue to expect only sporadic human cases,” Schwartlander said.

He referred to a case involving a 30-year-old man and his father-in-law in Zhejiang province. The local health authority said that the possibility of limited human-to-human transmission couldn’t be ruled out in the case, which was reported in December.

However, Schwartlander said it is not known whether H7N9 will cause a pandemic.

Sustained human-to-human transmission is usually needed for a pandemic, but so far “there is no evidence of sustained or widespread human-to-human transmission of the virus, which infects both birds and humans,” he stressed.

Feng Zijian, deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a media event on Monday that there have been no mutations of the virus in terms of drug resistance, viral activity and in transmission capacity since March.

“So there is no need to panic, although more human cases are expected in coming days,” he said.

The H7N9 bird flu virus tends to be more active in winter and such a period of stronger viral activity might last into early spring, he noted.

Most of the recent cases in China were in southeastern areas, with an average of five newly confirmed human H7N9 cases reported each day, Feng said, citing results from the centre’s national epidemic surveillance network.

The main transmission route for the virus remains from birds to humans, Feng added.

Among the cases reported, up to 70 per cent had had contact with birds, he said.

Health authorities will remain on high alert for any viral activity and carry out timely epidemiological background investigations in case of new infections, he said.

On Saturday, two men in Shanghai died after being infected with the H7N9 virus, the city’s health authority said in a report on Monday.

One was a 31-year-old doctor and the other a 77-year-old farmer. Both died early in the morning and tested positive for the H7N9 virus on Sunday, the municipal commission of health and family planning said.

Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Hospital said on Monday that the doctor who died was Zhang Xiaodong, a surgeon at the hospital.

The hospital denied that Zhang contracted the virus from patients, saying that it has handled no H7N9 cases.

Seven human H7N9 infections have been reported in different areas of Shanghai, the city’s health authority said.

“People who had close contact with those infected were placed under observation and reported no discomfort,” it added.

Nationwide, Guangdong, Guizhou, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Fujian provinces have reported new cases of human H7N9 bird flu infection in the first three weeks of the year.

In Guangdong, another patient with the virus has died despite treatment, a statement from the provincial health authority said on Monday. The patient, surnamed Yang, died on Sunday from respiratory failure, it said.

It was the third human H7N9 fatality since August in the province, which has confirmed 18 human cases of the virus since August.

via Human transmissions of H7N9 in China sporadic | Asia News | South East Asia News | AsiaOne.

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