The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for urgent action for the recent spike in human cases of H5N6 bird flu in mainland China.
“Wider geographical surveillance in the China affected areas and nearby areas is urgently required to better understand the risk and the recent increase of spillover to humans,” a WHO spokesperson told BNO News.
Since the first confirmed case of H5N6 bird flu in 2014, only 48 people have been sick, yet a third of those cases have been recorded in mainland China in the last three months alone. In the last 12 months, half of all cases have been reported.
H5N6 bird flu has been known to produce severe sickness in humans of all ages and has claimed the lives of more than half of those infected.
“Currently available epidemiologic and virologic evidence suggest that A(H5N6) influenza viruses have not acquired the ability of sustained transmission among humans. Thus the likelihood of human-to-human spread is low,” WHO said.
WHO stressed the importance of global surveillance to detect virological, epidemiological, and clinical changes associated with circulating influenza viruses that may affect human health and timely virus and information sharing for risk assessment.
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