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SFH on confirmed human case of avian influenza A(H7N9)

     Following is the transcript of remarks made by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, after chairing a meeting of the Steering Committee on Serious Response Level under the Preparedness Plan for Influenza Pandemic last night (December 2):

Secretary for Food and Health: We have just confirmed the first human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Hong Kong. The victim is a 36-year-old Indonesian domestic helper. She has a history of travelling to Shenzhen, buying a chicken, slaughtering and eating the chicken. She is now in critical condition at Queen Mary Hospital. Her home contacts will be admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital for isolation and testing.

     We have also escalated the response level of our Preparedness Plan for Influenza Pandemic to "Serious". The Hospital Authority will strengthen its infectious control measures, including limiting the visiting hours as well as other measures. The Centre for Health Protection will continue its work on contact tracing. The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department will ensure strict adherence to biosafety measures and cleansing arrangement by the live chicken stalls in the markets. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department will conduct visits to all local chicken farms and ensure the infection control measures in the poultry wholesale market (are in place).

     We have notified the Mainland authority and will notify the World Health Organization according to the established procedures. We have an understanding with the relevant department of the Central People's Government that we will suspend the import of live chickens from the three registered chicken farms in Shenzhen.

Reporter: (On assessment on human-to-human transmission of avian influenza A(H7N9))

Secretary for Food and Health: It depends very much on the investigation or testing results of the close contacts of this particular patient, who is the first patient so far in Hong Kong. I am sure that this part of the investigation results will be available very soon, the earliest by tomorrow.  

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Issued at HKT 01:43


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