Symptom-Free Bird Flu in China

H7N9 bird flu case in China developed without symptoms in young child

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Increases in the number of cases of the avian influenza in China, including a case with no symptoms, have health officials preparing for the possible discovery of new cases.

Bloomberg News reported that a 4-year-old boy in Beijing was found to have the H7N9 strain of the virus, though he was not displaying any symptoms.

This case has sparked concerns that there are potentially more asymptomatic cases yet to be discovered.

"Sneeze into a tissue or your elbow to avoid spreading germs."

According to Bloomberg News, healthcare workers investigating the flu discovered the asymptomatic patient, whose parents sell poultry and fish.

“The case suggests some H7N9 infections may be going unrecorded because of a lack of obvious symptoms," Bloomberg News reported.

The previous cases had been diagnosed after becoming unwell, with complications involving brain damage, organ failure and the breakdown of muscles, reported Bloomberg News.

According to Bloomberg News, “The boy’s infection was picked up as part of contact tracing – a process whereby relatives, neighbors and others known to have been in contact with a confirmed case are screened for the virus. “

The boy was one of 24 people tested for the virus after a 7-year-old girl was diagnosed two days earlier, reported Bloomberg News.

As previously reported by dailyRx News, officials have been investigating potential connections between cases and potential sources of the flu.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are now over 1,000 people with close connections to patients that are being closely monitored for symptoms. No evidence of transmission between people has yet been discovered.

The WHO reported that as of Monday, there were 60 confirmed cases and 13 deaths from the novel bird flu strain.

As news of the asymptomatic case developed, along with several separate cases involving minor illness, the WHO reported that it is possible other similar infections have not yet been reported and identified.

People’s Daily Online reported that the latest infection counts include two patients in the province of Henan in Central China. These two cases are the first infections to be identified in this province.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 16, 2013
Last Updated:
December 18, 2013