A family cluster of two fatal cases infected with influenza A (H7N9) virus in Kunming China, 2017

Two imported family cases (mother and daughter) of fatal H7N9 infection in Kunming, China were reported in 2017. Epidemiological investigation showed that the two family members had both been exposed to sick chickens in a poultry market. The onset of illness and death of the mother was 7?days later than her daughter, raising concerns about human-to-human transmission of H7N9 in the locality. Sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis of the virus strains isolated from the two patients revealed high sequence similarity (≥ 99%) and homology to each other. The two virus strains shared a PEIPKGR/G cleavage motif and the same key amino acid mutations across 8 viral genes except for a R292K mutation in the neuraminidase (NA) gene isolated from the mother who had been treated with oseltamivir in the clinic. Moreover, the isolated H7N9 virus possesses avian and human dual-receptor specificity and is able to efficiently proliferate in human cell lines in vitro. Further epidemiological study demonstrated that five family members who had close contacted with the patients were free of illness and negative for the H7N9 genomic test. Collectively, the H7N9 virus described here is still limited to transmit efficiently from human-to-human.