The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) has enhanced its surveillance on human influenza A (H5N1) infection after the Government raised the response level for avian influenza from "Alert" to "Serious" as a chicken carcass sample taken from the Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Poultry Market tested positive for the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus.
A telephone hotline, 2125 1111, has been set up to answer public enquiries today (December 21) from 9am to 6pm.
The CHP is carrying out medical surveillance of poultry wholesalers and workers at the Wholesale Poultry Market as well as local chicken farmers to follow up on their health.
At the moment, there is no human case of avian influenza infection in Hong Kong. The DH and the Hospital Authority (HA) have enhanced work on testing for human infection of avian influenza. Particular attention will be paid to those who visited or worked at the Wholesale Poultry Market.
A spokesman for the CHP has called on members of the public to seek medical treatment immediately if they develop symptoms of high fever or influenza-like illness. Public and private hospitals as well as clinics should make a report to the CHP immediately when there is any suspected case of avian influenza.
The CHP has written to all medical practitioners alerting them to the latest development and has liaised closely with the HA to step up surveillance. The department has also sent letters to institutions, elderly homes and schools to remind them to be vigilant against avian influenza.
The spokesman reminded the public to remain vigilant against avian influenza infection and to observe the following measures:
* Avoid direct contact with poultry and birds or their droppings; if contact is made, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water;
* Cook poultry and eggs thoroughly before eating;
* Wash hands frequently;
* Cover the nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing, and hold the spit with tissue and put it into a covered dustbin;
* Avoid crowded places and contact with sick people with fever;
* Wear a mask when you have respiratory symptoms or need to take care of patients with fever; and
* When you have fever and influenza-like illness during a trip or when coming back to Hong Kong, consult doctors promptly and reveal your travel history.
For further information on avian influenza, please visit the CHP website at www.chp.gov.hk.
Ends/Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Issued at HKT 13:13