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Fever patient with travel history tested negative for Influenza A (H7)

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (April 8) received notification from Tseung Kwan O Hospital (TKOH) a suspected human case of Influenza A (H7) affecting a 58-year-old woman whose respiratory specimens tested negative for H7 virus upon preliminary laboratory testing.

     The female patient visited Shanghai and Jiangsu from March 31 to April 5. She had presented with fever, cough, sore throat and myalgia since April 3 but her fever subsided the following day (April 4). She attended the Accident and Emergency Department of TKOH today for increase in cough and is currently admitted to the isolation ward for further management. She has been in stable condition all along.

     Her respiratory specimens tested negative for H7 upon preliminary laboratory testing by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch (PHLSB) of the CHP.

     Initial enquiries by the CHP revealed that the patient had visited a wet market with poultry stores during her stay in Shanghai.

     Her family contacts are so far all asymptomatic.

     "Influenza A (H7) is a statutorily notifiable infectious disease in Hong Kong and no human cases of Influenza A (H7N9) have been recorded so far," a spokesman for the DH stressed.

     The spokesman also reminded doctors to report any suspected case of Influenza A (H7) to the CHP and the PHLSB is ready to receive and test specimens whenever necessary.

     Travellers, especially those returning from Shanghai, Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, with fever or respiratory symptoms are urged to wear facial masks immediately, seek medical attention, and reveal their travel history to doctors. Healthcare professionals should also pay special attention to those who might have contact with birds, poultry or their droppings in the affected areas.

     "We would like to reassure the public that the Government will be as transparent as possible in the dissemination of information on human cases of Influenza A (H7N9). Whenever there is a suspected case, the CHP will release information to the public as soon as possible," the spokesman added.

     Members of the public should remain vigilant and are reminded to take heed of the following preventive advice against avian influenza:

* Avoid direct contact with poultry and birds or their droppings; if contacts have been made, they should immediately wash hands thoroughly with soap and water;
* 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 toilet, touching public installations or equipment such as escalator handrails, elevator control panels or 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 tissue and put it into covered dustbins;
* Avoid crowded places and contact with fever patients; and
* Wear a mask when respiratory symptoms develop or you need to take care of fever patients.

     From tomorrow (April 9) onwards, the CHP will provide the media a daily update on the number of suspected human cases of Influenza A (H7) notified to the CHP. This will include cases fulfilling the reporting criteria of suspected human cases of Influenza A (H7) and others that do not fulfill the reporting criteria.

     The public may visit the Avian Influenza page of the CHP ( for further information.

Ends/Monday, April 8, 2013
Issued at HKT 20:19


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