Hospital Cluster of H7N9 Influenza Infections Identified

Genetic analysis shows three hospital isolates from index patient, two doctors form independent clade

bird flu virus

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 10, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A hospital cluster of avian influenza A (H7N9) infection has been identified, according to a letter to the editor published in the Feb. 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Amber Farooqui, Ph.D., from the Shantou University Medical College in China, and colleagues report on a cluster of H7N9 infections that occurred from January to February 2015.

According to the authors, the index patient was a 28-year-old man with repeated exposure to live poultry who presented with respiratory infection. He was found to be positive for H7N9 on laboratory investigation of serum and sputum samples, obtained later in the course of illness. Influenza-like illness developed in a 33-year-old male physician, who had attended the index patient, seven days after admission of the index patient. Influenza-like illness and bronchial pneumonia developed in a second attending physician, who had also had close contact with the index patient, four days after symptom onset in the first physician. The use of infection-control practices could not be verified. There was no other epidemiologic link among these three patients. In all three patients, H7N9 infection was confirmed; they were discharged after recovery. Analyses of viral isolates from these three patients and another eight unrelated patients with H7N9 infection showed that the isolates were genetically closely related; however, the three hospital isolates formed an independent clade.

"Management of the care of patients with suspected H7N9 infection should include proper infection-control practices," the authors write.

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