SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Avian influenza detected in two humans in China

Officials from the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection, part of the Department of Health, recently confirmed that they have detected avian influenza (AH7N9) in two humans in mainland China.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission discovered the patients in Zhejiang and Guangdong. One of the patients is a 60-year-old man who is a farmer. The other, also a farmer, is 74. Both have a history of exposure to poultry. They are hospitalized and in serious conditions.

Since October 2015, health officials have confirmed six cases. Five were found in Zhejiang and one was detected in Guangdong. Since 2013, there have been 663 patients who have had (AH7N9) in Mainland China.

Health professionals are using this opportunity to encourage the public to adhere to strict hygiene habits with their food, selves and environments. This is important whether people are staying in their local areas or traveling abroad.

"Based on previous seasonal patterns, it is likely that the activity of avian influenza viruses will increase in winter,” a health department spokesperson said. “Heightened vigilance is warranted. Locally, we will work closely with the World Health Organization and relevant health authorities to monitor the latest developments.”

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