FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Hong Kong's CHP announces new case of avian influenza H7N9

The Hong Kong Department of Health's Centre for Health Protection announced on Tuesday a new laboratory-confirmed case of avian influenza A H7N9, bringing the total number of human cases to 149.

The newest patient is a 31-year-old man from Shenzhen. His symptoms began on December 30 and he was admitted to the hospital on January 3, where his cultures tested positive for avian influenza. The Health and Family Planning of Commission of Guangdong Province announced the finding on Tuesday.

The patient was in close contact with 35 people in Shenzhen and two people from Hong Kong. While all specimens from the patient's contacts in Shenzhen tested negative for the avian influenza, the two contacts, a mother and child, from Hong Kong have suspected infection and are at Princess Margaret Hospital for isolation and preliminary testing. The mother developed a sore throat on Monday.

"Locally, enhanced disease surveillance, port health measures and health education against avian influenza are ongoing," a DH spokesman said. "We will remain vigilant and maintain liaison with the World Health Organization and relevant health authorities. Local surveillance activities will be modified upon the WHO's recommendations."

The Hong Kong DH confirmed its diligence in continuing to monitor the progression of disease. The DH also recommended the public maintain good hygiene practices and take precaution when handling poultry.

"Travelers, especially those returning from avian influenza A (H7N9)-affected areas and provinces, with fever or respiratory symptoms should immediately wear masks, seek medical attention and reveal their travel history to doctors," the DH spokesman said. "Health-care professionals should pay special attention to patients who might have had contact with poultry, birds or their droppings in affected areas and provinces."