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Patient with respiratory symptoms and travel history under CHP investigation

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (February 22) investigating a suspected human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) infection affecting a 61-year-old man.

     The patient, with underlying illnesses, has presented with cough and shortness of breath since February 16 and consulted a private doctor on the same day. He then attended the Accident and Emergency Department  of Queen Mary Hospital (QMH) on February 20 and was admitted for management. His condition deteriorated and was subsequently transferred to the Intensive Care Unit for further management today. He is in critical condition.

     The patient's respiratory specimens tested positive for influenza A(H7) upon preliminary laboratory testing by QMH and the specimens will be sent for further laboratory testing by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP.

     Initial investigations by the CHP revealed that the patient had travelled to Zhangmutou, Dongguan, Guangdong, from February 6 to 8 and February 14 to 15 respectively. He had visited a wet market on February 14 and bought two slaughtered chickens. His home contacts in Dongguan remained asymptomatic.

     The CHP's investigation is continuing.

     "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 with handheld devices," a spokesman for the DH said.

     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 or 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/Sunday, February 22, 2015
Issued at HKT 22:46


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