Use of National Pneumonia Surveillance to Describe Influenza A(H7N9) Virus Epidemiology, China, 2004–2013 - Vol. 19 No. 11 - November 2013 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC
Volume 19, Number 11—November 2013
Use of National Pneumonia Surveillance to Describe Influenza A(H7N9) Virus Epidemiology, China, 2004–2013
Since 2004, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) has conducted surveillance for pneumonia of unknown etiology (PUE) to facilitate timely detection of novel respiratory pathogens, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and avian influenza. On March 31, 2013, health authorities in China reported the first human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus to the World Health Organization (1). In response to the emergence of A(H7N9), China CDC and provincial and local CDCs introduced testing for A(H7N9) virus of all persons with reported PUE. As of May 3, 2013, a total of 127 laboratory-confirmed A(H7N9) cases, resulting in 24 deaths, had been reported from 10 provinces and municipalities in mainland China (hereafter referred to as affected areas). The median age of these case-patients was 62 years; most (71%) were males.
AbstractIn mainland China, most avian influenza A(H7N9) cases in the spring of 2013 were reported through the pneumonia of unknown etiology (PUE) surveillance system. To understand the role of possible underreporting and surveillance bias in assessing the epidemiology of subtype H7N9 cases and the effect of live-poultry market closures, we examined all PUE cases reported from 2004 through May 3, 2013. Historically, the PUE system was underused, reporting was inconsistent, and PUE reporting was biased toward A(H7N9)-affected provinces, with sparse data from unaffected provinces; however, we found no evidence that the older ages of persons with A(H7N9) resulted from surveillance bias. The absolute number and the proportion of PUE cases confirmed to be A(H7N9) declined after live-poultry market closures (p< 0.001), indicating that market closures might have positively affected outbreak control. In China, PUE surveillance needs to be improved.
Most confirmed case-patients had severe disease (2–4), and an analysis of national influenza-like illness surveillance data has not found evidence of widespread A(H7N9)-associated mild illness (5). After preliminary epidemiologic and virologic information pointed to live-poultry markets (LPMs) as a possible source of infection (2,4), retail and wholesale LPMs were closed in several major cities in which A(H7N9) was confirmed, including Shanghai, Nanjing, and Hangzhou. The number of new cases declined in these cities after LPM closures (6).