Monday, 28 April 2014

H7N9 Snapdate: some quick charts...

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I don't have a lot of time tonight so this is just a quick post of some updated charts with a few summaries of some key features of the influenza A(H7N9) virus situation in south-eastern China. At writing it was at 432 detections with media reporting 128 deaths

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Guangdong is where H7N9 is still most active and it is this province that is the source of the continued cases trickling off Wave 2's peak.

Most H7N9 cases overall have been in Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces but lately, post-peak of Wave 2, there has been continued activity in Jiangsu province including a recent healthcare worker with no mention of "contact with poultry"; the absence of which stands out in World Health Organisation (WHO) reports because most cases are followed by affirmation of that phrase.

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In  the  survival chart above we see that most of the fatal cases, shown in red, are defined by an older age. Unfortunately, a lot more of the fatalities have been reported through the media without identifying details (48 of 128), than have come through official Chinese channels and out via the WHO. This lack of detail makes it impossible to clearly link a lot of the deaths to the case announcements. Only the custodians of these data know what this chart should really look like. NB: Since making the chart this morning I've found a handful more case details at FluTrackers, but public detail on fatal cases remains the weakest of any of the H7N9 data.

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We can see in the weekly chart on the right that the two H7N9 waves differed in timing, the width of their bases (more cases in Wave 2) as well as how "tight" their peaks were. Wave 2 has tailed off, but continues to spit out cases, while Wave 1 comprised both a steep climb and a steep decline in human cases.
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If we zoom in on Wave 2 we can see by looking at cases per day in the chart on the left, that between 0-4 illness onsets per day are being reported, as they have been since late Feb-2014. 

Is this the legacy of those regions whose live bird markets remained open or were only shut temporarily for disinfecting and restocking? Those regions with markets that were shut for much longer, or for good, do not seem to have contributed much to the continuing leak of H7N9 infections despite being key contributors during the peak periods before markets were closed.

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In zooming in on Wave 2's cases by week, but this time based on the region of likely acquisition of infection, we see that Guangdong province (brown line) has been the most consistent contributor of human H7N9 infections both late during the 2nd of the Wave 2 peaks, but also after the peak's decline almost everywhere else in south-east China. There was considerable publicised unwillingness from poultry producers to permanently close markets in this Province, a location with a major role in the nations poultry production. And so this little experiment incubates further and I have little doubt we will see the impact of that unwilingness late in 2014. 

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As noted above, public H7N9 death data do not allow good linkage with official case announcement data for about 48 fatalities, so my second-last chart tonight uses both public and media-release numbers to try and illustrate how the proportion of fatal cases (PFC) has changed across both Waves. The PFC seems to be holding fairly steady now between 17% and 30% (depending on source of numbers).


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And finally we see that the age and sex distribution across all cases (both Waves) is skewed to wards older males. Same as usual. If we look at this distribution (ran out of time to put in here) for the fatal cases, it is much more tightly grouped around the >60-year olds, but that females appear to dominate males in deaths during Wave 2, whereas it was the other way around for Wave 1.