The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) received notification yesterday (February 2) of two additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) respectively in Guangdong (two cases) from the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province, and in Zhejiang (one case), Hunan (one case) and Fujian (one case) from the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
The two cases in Guangdong involve two men aged 37 and 63. The 37-year-old patient is now hospitalised for treatment while the 63-year-old patient passed away on February 1.
The case in Zhejiang involves a man aged 44. He is now under treatment in hospital.
The case in Hunan involves a girl aged 8 who is now hospitalized for treatment.
The case in Fujian involves a man aged 35. He is now under treatment in hospital.
As of yesterday, a total of 280 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been confirmed in the Mainland, including Zhejiang (114 cases), Shanghai (41 cases), Jiangsu (36 cases), Guangdong (45 cases), Fujian (17 cases), Jiangxi (six cases), Anhui (four cases), Henan (four cases), Hunan (five cases), Beijing (three cases), Shandong (two cases), Hebei (one case), Guizhou (one case, imported from Zhejiang) and Guangxi (one case).
The CHP is closely monitoring the situation.
"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 said.
"In view of human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) confirmed in Hong Kong and multiple cases reported in the Mainland, the activity of the virus is expected to be higher in the winter season. Those planning to travel outside Hong Kong during the Lunar New Year should maintain good personal, environmental and food hygiene at all times," the spokesman urged.
"All boundary control points have implemented disease prevention and control measures. Thermal imaging systems are in place for body temperature checks of inbound travellers. Random temperature checks by handheld devices have also been arranged. Suspected cases will be immediately referred to public hospitals for follow-up investigation," the spokesman added.
Regarding health education for travellers, 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.
The spokesman advised travellers, especially those returning from avian influenza-affected areas and provinces with fever or respiratory symptoms, to 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 had contact with poultry, birds or their droppings in affected areas and provinces.
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/Monday, February 3, 2014
Issued at HKT 09:04