Press Release



Information and health advice on Influenza A H9N2


The Department of Health (DH) had compiled some initial information on Influenza A H9N2 for reference of the public, child care workers and school teachers, and workers handling poultry.

These information included the characteristics of influenza, the new findings of the avian flu (H9N2) in humans and some general preventive measures and treatment methods.

To prevent avian flu, members of the public are asked to adhere to the following advice:

* Maintain good body resistance by having a balanced diet, regular exercise and adequate rest and by reducing stress and quitting smoking;

* When feeling unwell, avoid crowded places where air ventilation is not good;

* Avoid contact with live poultry;

* Wash hands thoroughly with soap after handling poultry;

* Children should avoid contacting birds and chicken.

Child care workers and teachers are also advised to take note of the health of children under their care and ensure that the children observe proper personal hygiene.

Children with influenza-like illnesses should seek medical advice and stay at home.

Small animals kept at schools or child care centres should be carefully looked after and replacement by other suitable substitutes should be considered.

Children should be guided to keep a safe distance from the animals and refrain from making contacts with them.

For any assistance or support, child care workers and teachers can contact DH's Regional Offices at the following addresses:

* 30th Floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong (Tel: 2961 8729);

* 1st Floor, Hospital Authority Building, 147B Argyle Street (Tel: 2199 9100);

* 5th Floor, Citylink Plaza, 1 Shatin Station Circuit, New Territories (Tel: 2684 5133); and

* 1st Floor, 115 Castle Peak Road, Tsuen Wan (Tel: 2413 8388 ext 24 or 25, or 2490 7464).

For workers handling poultry, they are informed that although the influenza A H9N2 virus originated from birds and poultry, but it can be killed at a temperature of 70 degree Celsius or above.

Hence, meat and offal that are thoroughly cooked are safe to eat.

However, workers handling poultry are advised:

* To maintain good ventilation and good environmental hygiene at work;

* When handling poultry, they should wear protective gowns, masks and gloves;

* After handling poultry, they should immediately wash hands thoroughly with soap;

* Since the virus may be found in the offal and faecal matters of poultry, the offal and meat must be handled separately and all containers must be washed thoroughly after use.

These information and advice, Chinese only for workers handling poultry, have been uploaded onto the Internet in the Department's Homepage at for easy access.

Earlier, information for doctors, including the clinical symptoms of the first two cases and treatment methods, has also been uploaded onto the Internet.

End/Friday, April 9, 1999