The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) received notification today (January 5) from the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of an additional human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Zhejiang affecting a woman aged 34.
The patient had onset of symptoms on December 29, 2013 and was admitted to a local hospital for treatment on January 2. Her specimen tested positive for avian influenza A(H7N9) virus by the relevant health authority of Zhejiang Province on January 4. Her current condition is critical.
To date, a total of 146 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been confirmed in the Mainland, including Zhejiang (52 cases), Shanghai (34 cases), Jiangsu (28 cases), Guangdong (six cases), Jiangxi (six cases), Fujian (five cases), Anhui (four cases), Henan (four cases), Beijing (two cases), Hunan (two cases), Shandong (two cases) and Hebei (one case).
The CHP will follow up with the Mainland health authorities for more case details.
"Locally, enhanced disease surveillance, port health measures and health education against avian influenza are ongoing. We will remain vigilant and maintain liaison with the World Health Organization (WHO) and relevant health authorities. Local surveillance activities will be modified upon the WHO's recommendations," a spokesman for the DH remarked.
All border control points (BCPs) have implemented disease prevention and control measures. Thermal imaging systems are in place for body temperature checks of inbound travellers. Suspected cases will be immediately referred to public hospitals for follow-up investigation.
Regarding health education for travellers at BCPs, distribution of pamphlets, display of posters in departure and arrival halls, in-flight public announcements, environmental health inspection and provision of regular updates to the travel industry via meetings and correspondence are all proceeding.
"Travellers, especially those returning from avian influenza A(H7N9)-affected areas and provinces, with fever or respiratory symptoms should immediately wear masks, seek medical attention and reveal their travel history to doctors. Health-care professionals should pay special attention to patients who might have contact with poultry, birds or their droppings in affected areas and provinces," the spokesman advised.
Members of the public should remain vigilant and take heed of the preventive advice against avian influenza below:
* Do not visit live poultry markets. Avoid contact with poultry, birds and their droppings. If contact has been made, thoroughly wash hands with soap;
* Poultry and eggs should be thoroughly cooked before eating;
* Wash hands frequently with soap, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes, handling food or eating; after going to the toilet or touching public installations or equipment (including escalator handrails, elevator control panels and door knobs); or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing;
* Cover the nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing, hold the spit with a tissue and put it into a covered dustbin;
* Avoid crowded places and contact with fever patients; and
* Wear masks when respiratory symptoms develop or when taking care of fever patients.
The public may visit the CHP's avian influenza page (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/24244.html) and website (www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/global_statistics_avian_influenza_e.pdf) for more information on avian influenza-affected areas and provinces.
Ends/Sunday, January 5, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:26