The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) has been notified by the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province of a confirmed human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) today (December 16) affecting a 65-year-old woman in Yangjiang, Guangdong Province.
The patient is currently in critical condition. Her sample tested positive for the avian influenza A(H7N9) virus by the relevant health authority of Guangdong Province and the diagnosis was confirmed today.
To date, a total of 142 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been laboratory confirmed in the Mainland, including Zhejiang (51 cases), Shanghai (33 cases), Jiangsu (28 cases), Jiangxi (six cases), Fujian (five cases), Anhui (four cases), Henan (four cases), Guangdong (four cases), Shandong (two cases), Hunan (two cases), Beijing (two cases), and Hebei (one case).
A spokesman for the DH remarked that the CHP is closely monitoring the situation and maintaining close liaison with the Mainland health authorities for case details, as well as keeping a close eye on the latest advice from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Travellers, especially those returning from avian influenza A(H7N9)-affected areas and provinces, with fever or respiratory symptoms are reminded to immediately wear facial masks, seek medical attention, and reveal their travel history to doctors. Health-care professionals should also pay special attention to patients who might have had contact with birds, poultry or their droppings in affected areas.
In response to the human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in the Mainland, port health measures have been implemented at all border control points and health information is being disseminated to travellers through various means including display of posters on avian influenza A(H7N9) in departure and arrival halls, distribution of health education pamphlets, in-flight announcements, enhanced environmental health inspection, provision of regular updates to travel industries via meetings and correspondence, surveillance of sick travellers and referral of suspected cases to public hospitals for further investigation.
The spokesman also urged travellers not to visit wet markets with live poultry in the affected areas and to avoid direct contact with poultry, birds and their droppings. If contact has been made, they should thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water.
Members of the public should remain vigilant and are reminded to take heed of the following preventive advice against avian influenza:
* 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 such as escalator handrails, elevator control panels or door knobs; or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing;
* Cover the nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing, and hold the spit with a tissue and put it into a covered dustbin;
* Avoid crowded places and contact with fever patients; and
* Wear a mask when respiratory symptoms develop or when taking care of fever patients.
The public may visit the CHP's avian influenza page (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/24244.html) and its website (www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/global_statistics_avian_influenza_e.pdf) for more information on avian influenza-affected areas.
Ends/Monday, December 16, 2013