Human infections with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus in China – update and recommendations

As of 23 April 2013, the health authorities of China had notified WHO of 108 laboratory-confirmed human cases of A(H7N9) virus and 22 deaths. These cases were reported from 4 provinces in China (Anhui, Henan, Jiangsu and Zhejiang) and 2 municipalities (Beijing and Shanghai). So far, there is no evidence of ongoing human-to-human transmission.

Recommendations for the European Region

WHO/Europe emphasizes the need for Member States to maintain the capacity to detect any unusual health event (including those that may be associated with a new subtype of influenza A) that should be reported to WHO in accordance with the International Health Regulations (2005).

The human health and animal health sectors should maintain close and systematic interaction for timely exchange of information, and conduct joint risk assessments for the prevention and control of zoonotic diseases as necessary.

At this time, WHO does not advise the implementation of special screening at points of entry, or recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied.

Advice for the public

Although there is no evidence of ongoing human-to-human transmission, members of the public should:

  • wash their hands to reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses; and
  • use “respiratory etiquette” to help prevent virus transmission.

People with influenza-like symptoms should stay home, not go to work or other public places, and seek medical advice if their condition worsens.

International team in China

An international team of experts has been in China since 18 April, at the invitation of the Government, to visit areas affected by the avian influenza A(H7N9) virus and to recommend ways to prevent and control the disease. Led by WHO and the China National Health and Family Planning Commission, the team is visiting such places as laboratories, hospitals and markets.

Regular updates for the European Region

WHO/Europe has produced a situation report – including a risk assessment, recommendations and key references and guidance – for countries in the WHO European Region, which it will regularly revise.