The Central Epidemic Command Center said that as of yesterday morning, all of the nation’s suspected cases of H7N9 infection reported since April 3 had been cleared of infection.
In the 24-hour period ending 8am yesterday, five suspected cases of infection were reported, of which four were reported by hospitals and one was detected at an airport, Centers for Disease Control official Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said. All have since tested negative for the H7N9 bird flu virus, with one testing positive for H1N1 and one for H3N2, Chuang added.
According to the command center’s data, since April 3, the day the nation’s health authorities officially listed H7N9 avian influenza as a category 5 notifiable communicable disease, 59 suspected cases have been reported and all of them have been cleared.
Of the 59, 13 tested positive for H1N1 infection, five for H3N2 and one for influenza B.
After a seven-year-old girl became the first confirmed case in Beijing, two provinces away from the four contiguous H7N9-affected regions (Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui), and the second child to be infected with the virus, some in Taiwan have wondered whether this was a case of the disease spreading via human-to-human transmission.
“Rather than saying that the disease might be ‘spreading,’ I would say the surveillance and monitoring of the disease has become more effective in China. Also, the only two children infected with the virus both had direct contact with poultry, so I would not say the child cases are evidence of person-to-person transmission,” said Chang Feng-yee (張峰義), head of the command center.
Chang said bird migration in the area and the possible mutation of the virus were more worthy of attention.
“The migratory birds are currently heading north from the south, but they will be starting to journey south to their wintering grounds around September. Since it is suspected that migratory birds carry the virus, we have to be extra vigilant later this year,” Chang said.