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CHP closely monitors six human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Mainland

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (June 15) closely monitoring a total of six human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Tianjin, Beijing, Hebei and Jiangsu, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

     According to the Tianjin Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning, two patients from Langfang (Hebei) and Binhai New Area (Tianjin) were hospitalised for management of severe pneumonia. Both had contact with poultry but were not epidemiologically linked. These are the first two human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Tianjin.

     The Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning reported an additional case affecting a female farmer aged 68 from Langfang (Hebei). She had no poultry exposure and was hospitalised for isolation and management in critical condition.

     In addition, three cases were notified by the National Health and Family Planning Commission. The case in Hebei affects a male farmer aged 57 from Shijiazhuang who was in serious condition. The two cases in Jiangsu affect a male farmer aged 45 from Changzhou working in a market with poultry, and a woman aged 53 from Huai'an with live poultry contact. Both were in serious condition.

     "H7N9 has become enzootic in poultry in the Mainland. From January 2015 to April 2016, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, poultry and environmental samples collected from markets in Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Shanghai and Zhejiang tested positive for H7N9. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations revealed that positive samples in the Mainland were mainly taken from live bird markets, vendors and some commercial or breeding farms," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     "In view of additional human cases reported in the Mainland in warmer months as well as the recent local positive sample of faecal droppings of live poultry, the public should remain vigilant. Travellers to the Mainland and other avian influenza-affected areas in the upcoming summer vacation should not visit poultry markets, and should avoid contact with poultry and their droppings," the spokesman added.

     From 2013 to date, 766 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities, while since October 2015 to date, 109 have been recorded.

     "We will remain vigilant and work closely with the World Health Organization and relevant health authorities to monitor the latest developments," the spokesman said.

     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. 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 CHP's pages below for more information:

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

Ends/Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Issued at HKT 17:00


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