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Latest recommendations from SCEZD on management of close contacts of cases of human infection with avian influenza

    The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health announced today (March 20) the latest recommendations by the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases (SCEZD) on management of close contacts of cases of human infection with avian influenza.

     Based on review of the recommendations on contact tracing for human infection with avian influenza cases by the World Health Organization, and experiences and practices of other health authorities, the SCEZD recommends the CHP to continue to conduct contact tracing of contacts of confirmed human cases of avian influenza. Antiviral prophylaxis with oseltamivir (tamiflu) should be given to the close contacts at an appropriate treatment dose for five days.  Medical surveillance is to be undertaken for 10 days after the last exposure, where the close contacts should report to CHP promptly if fever or any respiratory symptom develops.

     Moreover, close contacts should wear a face mask for 10 days since last exposure to a confirmed case while the case was infectious. There are no restrictions for work or other daily activities during the surveillance period. If the close contacts are contraindicated / intolerant to or refuse antiviral prophylaxis with oseltamivir, they should be put under quarantine for 10 days since last exposure.

     "The above recommendations are based on the most current scientific understanding of the risk of human-to-human transmission of avian influenza A (H7N9) virus, which also apply to human infections with other types of avian influenza viruses with low risk of human-to-human transmission, like avian influenza A (H5N1)," a spokesman for CHP explained.

     The SCEZD notes that avian influenza viruses may change unpredictably, including its transmissibility and pathogenicity. It advises CHP to closely monitor the latest scientific development on avian influenza viruses and review the above recommendations if in future new scientific evidence suggests changes in the potential of human-to-human transmission and antiviral susceptibility.

     The public may visit the CHP's pages about avian influenza below for more information:

* The avian influenza page (;
* The weekly Avian Influenza Report (; and
* Global statistics and affected areas of avian influenza (

Ends/Friday, March 20, 2015
Issued at HKT 20:15


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