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CHP investigates imported human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) infection

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (April 19) investigating the third imported human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) infection in Hong Kong this year affecting an 80-year-old man.

     The patient, with underlying illnesses, travelled to Dongguan, Guangdong from April 1 to 5. He has presented with cough with sputum, headache and gouty attack since April 6 and consulted a private doctor on April 7. He sought medical consultation from another private doctor on April 14 and was found to have fever. He developed confusion and refused eating on April 17, and was sent to Accident and Emergency Department of United Christian Hospital by ambulance for treatment on the same day. He was subsequently admitted to isolation ward.
     The patient's sputum specimens tested positive for avian influenza A(H7N9) virus upon laboratory testing by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP. The patient will be transferred to the Hospital Authority Infectious Disease Centre in Princess Margaret Hospital for further management. He is currently in stable condition.

     Initial investigations by the CHP revealed that the patient visited a wet market near his residence in Dongguan on April 2. He bought a live chicken from the wet market and slaughtered it on April 3. His two travel collaterals and another three close contacts have remained asymptomatic so far. Tracing of the patient's contacts in Hong Kong is ongoing.

     The CHP's investigation is continuing.

     The case will be notified to the World Health Organization and the National Health and Family Planning Commission. The CHP is communicating with the Mainland health authority to follow up on the patient's exposure and movements in the Mainland. Based on information available thus far, it is classified as an imported case.

     Letters to doctors, hospitals, kindergartens, child care centres and primary and secondary schools as well as residential care homes for the elderly and the disabled will be issued to alert them to the latest situation.

     This is the 16th imported human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) infection confirmed in Hong Kong. From 2013 to date, 738 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) infection have been reported by the Mainland health authorities.

     The DH's Port Health Office conducts health surveillance measures at all boundary control points. 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 display of posters and broadcast of health messages in departure and arrival halls as health education for travellers is under way. The travel industry and other stakeholders are regularly updated on the latest information.

     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. Healthcare 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 CHP's pages below for more information:

* The avian influenza page (;
* The weekly Avian Influenza Report (;
* The avian influenza-affected areas and global statistics (;
* The Facebook Page (; and
* The YouTube Channel (

Ends/Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Issued at HKT 22:45


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