CHP closely monitors first human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Canada

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (January 27) closely monitoring the first human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) reported by Canada, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

     "This is the first case reported in North America to date and we are seeking more information from the Canadian health authority. We will remain vigilant and work closely with neighbouring and overseas health authorities to monitor the latest developments," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the patient from British Columbia returned to Canada from Mainland China on January 12 by Air Canada flight AC 008 and was asymptomatic during travel with onset after arrival in Canada. The patient did not require hospitalisation and was in recovery in self-isolation. Close contacts identified were put under medical surveillance.

     To date, 513 cases have been reported globally since March 2013, including 495 cases in the Mainland and 18 cases exported to Hong Kong (12 cases), Taiwan (four cases), Malaysia (one case) and Canada (one case).

     Locally, all boundary control points have implemented health surveillance measures. 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 DH's Port Health Office has enhanced body temperature checks by handheld devices.

     Regarding health education for travellers, the display of posters and broadcasting of health messages in departure and arrival halls, environmental health inspection and provision of regular updates to the travel industry and other stakeholders will be enhanced.

     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. Health-care 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 pages below for more information:
* The CHP's avian influenza page (; and
* Global statistics and affected areas of avian influenza in the CHP's website (

Ends/Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Issued at HKT 12:55