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Concerted efforts in enhancing surveillance and control measures for Influenza A (H7N9)

     Representatives from the Department of Health (DH) and the Hospital Authority (HA) met today (April 2) to discuss the updated situation of the confirmed human cases of Influenza A (H7N9) in the Mainland and will work together in enhancing the surveillance and control measures for the disease.

     Speaking at a media session after the meeting, the Controller of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the DH, Dr Leung Ting-hung, expressed concern on the latest development of the disease in the Mainland.

     "The mortality of Influenza A (H7N9) is very high. Although there is no evidence to show human-to-human transmission, the mutation potential of the virus is high. As such, we will not treat the disease lightly," Dr Leung said.

     "Doctors are advised to be vigilant and report any suspected cases to the CHP. Health-care workers should exercise appropriate infection control measures at all times. The public should pay particular attention to personal and environmental hygiene and avoid direct contact with animals, birds or poultry," he said, adding that the Alert Response Level under the Government's Preparedness Plan for Influenza Pandemic 2012 is activated and that relevant surveillance and control measures have been enhanced.

     Dr Leung also advised travellers especially those returning from Shanghai and Anhui with respiratory symptoms to wear facial masks and seek medical attention and reveal their travel histories to doctors. Health-care professionals should also pay special attention to those travellers who might have contact with birds or poultry in the two places.

     The CHP will closely monitor the situation, continue to maintain close liaison with the Mainland health authorities and keep a close eye on the advice from the World Health Organization.

     Also speaking at the media session, the Chief Infection Control Officer of the HA, Dr Dominic Tsang, stressed that while working closely with the CHP, the HA has enhanced surveillance for patients with influenza symptoms. The frontline health-care staff of accident and emergency departments will pay special attention to those patients referred by the Port Health Office under the DH, while hospital laboratories will provide full support for timely test services. Visitors to the clinical areas of the public hospitals and clinics will also be advised to wear surgical mask.  

     The CHP spokesman reminded members of 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 contacts have been made, they should wash hands thoroughly with soap and water;
* Poultry and eggs should be thoroughly cooked before eating;
* Wash hands frequently;
* Cover nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing, hold the spit with tissue and put it into covered dustbins;
* 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 illnesses during a trip or when coming back to Hong Kong, you should consult doctors promptly and reveal your travel history.

     For further information on avian influenza, please visit the CHP's website (

Ends/Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:48


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