The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (March 18) investigating the second imported human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) infection in Hong Kong this year affecting an 81-year-old woman.
The patient, with underlying illnesses, travelled to Kaiping, Guangdong on March 5. She has presented with malaise, headache, shortness of breath and fever since March 10 and was admitted to a hospital in Kaiping between March 14 and 16. Upon return to Hong Kong on March 17, she attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Caritas Medical Centre on the same day and was subsequently admitted for management of pneumonia.
The patient's nasopharyngeal aspirate tested positive for avian influenza A(H7N9) virus upon laboratory testing by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP. The patient has been admitted to the Hospital Authority Infectious Disease Centre (HAIDC) in Princess Margaret Hospital for further management. She is now in stable condition.
Initial investigations by the CHP revealed that the patient visited a wet market near her residence in Kaiping during her stay in the Mainland and reported no direct poultry contact. Among 11 close contacts of the patient identified so far, two daughters have developed headache and malaise since March 16 and 17 respectively. They have been transferred to HAIDC for management. Other close contacts remain asymptomatic. Tracing of the patient¡¦s contact in Hong Kong is ongoing.
The CHP's investigation is continuing.
The case will be notified to the World Health Organization and the National Health and Family Planning Commission. The CHP is communicating with the Mainland health authority to follow up on the patient's exposure and movements in the Mainland. Based on information available thus far, it is classified as an imported case.
Letters to doctors, hospitals, kindergartens, child care centres and primary and secondary schools as well as residential care homes for the elderly and the disabled will be issued to alert them to the latest situation.
This is the 15th imported human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) confirmed in Hong Kong. From 2013 to date, 735 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities.
The DH's Port Health Office conducts health surveillance measures at all boundary control points. Thermal imaging systems are in place for body temperature checks on inbound travellers. Suspected cases will be immediately referred to public hospitals for follow-up.
The display of posters and broadcast of health messages in departure and arrival halls as health education for travellers is under way. The travel industry and other stakeholders are regularly updated on the latest information.
Travellers, especially those returning from avian influenza-affected areas with fever or respiratory symptoms, should immediately wear masks, seek medical attention and reveal their travel history to doctors. Healthcare professionals should pay special attention to patients who might have had contact with poultry, birds or their droppings in affected areas.
The public should remain vigilant and take heed of the advice against avian influenza below:
* Do not visit live poultry markets and farms. Avoid contact with poultry, birds and their droppings;
* If contact has been made, thoroughly wash hands with soap;
* Avoid entering areas where poultry may be slaughtered and contact with surfaces which might be contaminated by droppings of poultry or other animals;
* 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); and 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 pages below for more information:
* The avian influenza page (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/24244.html);
* The weekly Avian Influenza Report (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/3879.html);
* The avian influenza-affected areas and global statistics (www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/global_statistics_avian_influenza_e.pdf);
* The Facebook Page (www.fb.com/CentreforHealthProtection); and
* The YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/c/ChpGovHkChannel).
Ends/Friday, March 18, 2016
Issued at HKT 23:00