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China Reports Human H5N6 Avian Influenza Case in Sichuan Province

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

China has reported a human with H5N6 avian influenza in Sichuan province. Due to the sudden small outbreak of avian influenza, Chinese public health officials have stated that the public should maintain strict personal hand foot and environmental hygiene. They gave a strict list of advice to follow, and this being China, is not a suggestion.

Health officials requested that the public avoid touching any birds or their feces. Additionally, they suggested when buying live chickens that they not touch them or their feces, to not blow on their rear ends, to wash and cook the eggs immediately before consuming, and to wash their hands with soap and water after handling chicken and eggs.

The recent outbreak has a range of flu like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, and can lead to shortness of breath or chest infection. They have also noted that eye infections and gastrointestinal issues have been reported in this strain of avian influenza. Officials say that the period of incubation is 7 to 10 days.

Previously there were two cases in Sichuan Province, but an additional case was reported recently of a 56-year-old male who was exposed to live domestic poultry. He developed symptoms on March 31st but was admitted for treatment on April 4th. He is in serious condition according to authorities. This influenza seems to be more violent and can result in respiratory failure, multi organ failure, and even death. There has been one death recorded so far of a 77-year-old woman. It is unclear whether or not the woman received advanced medical care.

Officials continue to suggest wearing a mask even though it has been scientifically proven not to reduce the transmission of influenza. They have given clear instructions on how to cook chicken and egg products to the public. The question remains though if they can tell the difference between COVID and this H5N6 avian influenza since the PCR tests couldn’t tell the difference in labs. Does this further enhance into the zero COVID-19 policy is a further question?

As usual officials have been very tight lipped about how they can tell the difference between this influenza and COVID-19. Considering how they’re handling COVID-19, it’s a wonder how they will handle this H5N6 avian influenza. While Shanghai is locked down and much of the mainland as well, we must remember that most of our products come from China. If officials are suggesting people not blow on the rear ends of chickens in China when purchasing them, we must also wonder what other unique practices they have that could contribute to ill health of Americans.

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