The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health tonight (April 2) verified with the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) four confirmed human cases of Influenza A (H7N9) in Jiangsu, involving one man and three women, aged from 32 and 83, all of whom currently in critical condition.
Laboratory tests on the patients' specimens by the Mainland health authorities yielded positive results for H7N9.
According to the Health Department of Jiangsu, the 45-year-old female patient is a poultry worker and no epidemiological links were identified among the four cases at this stage. So far, the 167 close contacts of the four patients are asymptomatic.
A spokesman stressed that the CHP is closely monitoring the situation, will continue to maintain close liaison with the Mainland health authorities for more case information as well as keep a close eye on the advice from the World Health Organization.
The spokesman also advised travellers especially those returning from Shanghai, Anhui and Jiangsu with respiratory symptoms to wear facial masks and seek medical attention and reveal their travel histories to doctors. Health-care professionals should also pay special attention to those travellers who might have contact with birds or poultry in the three places.
Members of the public are reminded to take heed of the following preventive advice against avian influenza:
* Wash hands frequently;
* Avoid direct contact with poultry and birds or their droppings; if contacts have been made, they should wash hands thoroughly with soap and water;
* Poultry and eggs should be thoroughly cooked before eating;
* Cover the nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing, hold the spit with tissue and put it into covered dustbins;
* Avoid crowded places and contact with fever patients;
* Wear a mask when respiratory symptoms develop or you need to take care of fever patients; and
* When you have fever and influenza-like illnesses during a trip or returning to Hong Kong, promptly consult doctors and reveal your travel history.
The public may visit the Avian Influenza page of the CHP (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/24244.html) for further information.
Ends/Tuesday, April 2, 2013