The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) tonight (April 5) verified with the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) two confirmed human cases of Influenza A (H7N9) in Jiangsu, involving a 61-year-old woman and a 79-year-old man.
Laboratory tests on the patients' specimens by the Mainland health authorities yielded positive results for H7N9.
According to the Jiangsu Province Department of Health, no epidemiological links were identified among the two cases at this stage. So far, the 65 close contacts of the two patients are asymptomatic.
A spokesman for DH 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, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, with fever or respiratory symptoms to wear facial masks immediately, seek medical attention, and reveal their travel history to doctors. Healthcare professionals should also pay special attention to those who might have contact with birds, poultry or their droppings in the affected areas.
Members of the public should remain vigilant and are reminded to take heed of the following preventive advice against avian influenza:
* Avoid direct contact with poultry and birds or their droppings; if contacts have been made, they should immediately wash hands thoroughly with soap and water;
* 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 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;
* 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; and
* Wear a mask when respiratory symptoms develop or you need to take care of fever patients.
The public may visit the Avian Influenza page of the CHP (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/24244.html) for further information.
Ends/Friday, April 5, 2013