The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) yesterday (March 27) received notification of an additional human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Huizhou affecting a woman aged 55 from the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province. She is now hospitalised for treatment.
As of yesterday, a total of 391 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been confirmed in the Mainland, including Zhejiang (138 cases), Guangdong (95 cases), Jiangsu (44 cases), Shanghai (41 cases), Fujian (21 cases), Hunan (19 cases), Anhui (10 cases), Jiangxi (six cases), Beijing (four cases), Henan (four cases), Guangxi (three cases), Shandong (three cases), Guizhou (one case, imported from Zhejiang), Hebei (one case) and Jilin (one case).
"Locally, enhanced disease surveillance, port health measures and health education against avian influenza are ongoing. We will remain vigilant and maintain liaison with the World Health Organization (WHO) and relevant health authorities. Local surveillance activities will be modified upon the WHO's recommendations," a spokesman for the DH said.
"In view of human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) confirmed locally and multiple cases notified by the Mainland, further cases are expected in affected and possibly neighbouring areas. Those planning to travel outside Hong Kong should maintain good personal, environmental and food hygiene at all times," the spokesman added.
"All boundary control points have implemented disease prevention and control measures. Thermal imaging systems are in place for body temperature checks of inbound travellers. Random temperature checks by handheld devices have also been arranged. Suspected cases will be immediately referred to public hospitals for follow-up investigation," the spokesman said.
Regarding health education for travellers, display of posters in departure and arrival halls, in-flight public announcements, environmental health inspection and provision of regular updates to the travel industry via meetings and correspondence are proceeding.
The spokesman advised travellers, especially those returning from avian influenza-affected areas and provinces with fever or respiratory symptoms, to 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 and provinces.
Members of the public should remain vigilant and take heed of the preventive 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, or 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); or 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 avian influenza page (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/24244.html) and website
(www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/global_statistics_avian_influenza_e.pdf) for more information on avian influenza-affected areas and provinces.
Ends/Friday, March 28, 2014