CHP notified of imported human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Macau

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health received notification of an imported human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) from the Health Bureau of Macau late last night (January 12), and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

     The female patient, aged 72 with underlying illnesses, has developed fever and cough since January 8 in Zhongshan. She returned to Macau on January 10 and was hospitalised for the management of pneumonia. She was in a stable condition. Enquiries revealed that she kept chickens in her residence in Zhongshan and had visited wet markets with live chickens there.

     From 2013 to date, at least 904 human H7N9 cases have been reported by the Mainland health authorities, 129 of which have been recorded from November 2016 thus far, including 57 in Jiangsu, 22 in Zhejiang, 15 in Guangdong, 14 in Anhui, seven in Jiangxi, four in Shanghai, three each in Fujian and Hunan, and two each in Guizhou and Shandong. Four (imported) and two cases were respectively recorded in Hong Kong and Macau.

     "We strongly urge the public to avoid touching birds, poultry or their droppings and visiting poultry markets or farms during travel, particularly in the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays. If feeling unwell, such as having a fever or cough, wear a mask and seek medical advice at once. Travellers returning from affected areas should consult doctors promptly if symptoms develop, and actively inform the doctors of their travel history for prompt diagnosis and treatment," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     "Adults and parents should also look after children with extra care in personal, hand, food and environmental hygiene against infections during travel," the spokesman said.

     "While local surveillance, prevention and control measures are in place, we will remain vigilant and work closely with the World Health Organization and relevant health authorities to monitor the latest developments," the spokesman said.

     As the H7N9 virus continues to be detected in animals and environments in the Mainland, additional human cases are expected in affected and possibly neighbouring areas. In view of the heavy trade and travel between the Mainland and Hong Kong, further sporadic imported human cases in Hong Kong every now and then are expected, especially in the coming few months.

     The CHP'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 broadcasting 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.

     The public should maintain strict personal, hand, food and environmental hygiene and take heed of the advice below while handling poultry:
  • Avoid touching poultry, birds, animals or their droppings;
  • When buying live chickens, do not touch them and their droppings. Do not blow at their bottoms. Wash eggs with detergent if soiled with faecal matter and cook and consume them immediately. Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling chickens and eggs;
  • Eggs should be cooked well until the white and yolk become firm. Do not eat raw eggs or dip cooked food into any sauce with raw eggs. Poultry should be cooked thoroughly. If there is pinkish juice running from the cooked poultry or the middle part of its bone is still red, the poultry should be cooked again until fully done;
  • Wash hands frequently, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes, before handling food or eating, and after going to the toilet, touching public installations or equipment such as escalator handrails, elevator control panels or door knobs, or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing; and
  • Wear a mask if fever or respiratory symptoms develop, when going to a hospital or clinic, or while taking care of patients with fever or respiratory symptoms.

     The public may visit the CHP's pages for more information: the avian influenza page, the weekly Avian Influenza Reportglobal statistics and affected areas of avian influenza, the Facebook Page and the YouTube Channel.

Ends/Friday, January 13, 2017
Issued at HKT 11:18