SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

Sixth human case of avian influenza in Hong Kong under investigation

The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection said on Tuesday that it is investigating a human case of avian influenza A that was imported to Hong Kong.


The patient is an 18-month-old girl with good past health. She developed a mild fever and was taken to the doctor on Feb. 28. She was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital on March 1 after a nasopharyngeal swab tested positive for influenza, and released from the hospital in stable condition on March 3.


Her specimen was sent to the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch for further testing, and tested positive for avian influenza A(H7N9) on Tuesday.


The patient's clinician said she was initially admitted to the hospital for febrile convulsion and had no signs of pneumonia. A history of suspicious exposure was not known at the time of admission.


The patient was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital for isolation and testing when avian influenza A(H7N9) was confirmed. The patient does not have symptoms and does not have a fever, according to CHP.


An investigation of the illness revealed the patient had traveled from To Kwa Wan to Shunde, Foshan, Guangdong, in February. She was brought to a wet market by her mother, and stayed in a local residence with no known poultry.


"Further investigations into her travel and exposure histories are ongoing in parallel with contact tracing," a CHP spokesperson said. "Close contacts including relevant household members and patients who had stayed in the same room with the patient in QEH will be admitted for testing and observation, while other contacts including relevant healthcare workers, visitors, immigration staff at Lo Wu, the doctor and patients of the private clinic which the patient consulted on February 28, will all be put under medical surveillance."


The case marks the sixth confirmed human case of avian influenza in Hong Kong. CHP said the World Health Organization, the National Health and Family Planning Commission and health and quarantine authorities in Guangdong and Macao would be notified.