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Ideally this would be month that illness onset occurred - when they became ill - but those details just are not publicly forthcoming from China's massive human and animal influenza surveillance and testing system.
I'm sure the data are to hand internally, and they may be on hand at the World Health Organization (WHO) - but you wouldn't know it by looking for them publicly. The WHO used to be helpful with providing H7N9 data but it seems their latest efforts to provide more detail on MERS cases has exhausted them.
Hong Kong's Centre of Health Protection (CHP) has been valiantly chipping away, but they also fail to provide sufficient detail to link cases with media or other reports.
As for fatal outcomes from H7N9 infection - forget understanding who dies when and why. Those numbers have been frankly a pathetic mess for four years.
This week marked the fourth anniversary of our knowledge of H7N9 in humans - the first case became ill February 18th 2013 in as part of a Shanghai family cluster. Since then we've seen less and less detail on cases. And by "detail" I don't mean their names and addresses - just case age, sex, date of illness onset/hospitalization/death, linkage between case and death, poultry or human contact and place infection was likely acquired. Basic and standard stuff.
Meanwhile the media report every bolus of data that are dumped as if these were new cases and deaths that have just occurred. In reality, the huge January spike below may include many cases and deaths from a month or more earlier.
We're definitely having a big H7N9 season (n=176 human cases) - but as far as I can tell - we had bigger tallies in 2014 (n=326) and 2015 (n=220).
In media interviews over the past weeks, I've put the current season down to lethargy in closing live bird markets as cases and deaths have mounted. The response has been faster in previous years.[1,2] Poultry is a big deal in China. Perhaps the poultry lobby has won out over human life this season.