SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018

Hong Kong officials meet to discuss human influenza A H7N9 cases

Representatives from Hong Kong's Department of Health and Hospital Authority met on Tuesday to discuss recent confirmed human cases of influenza A H7N9 and plan enhanced surveillance and control measures for the virus.

Leung Ting-hung, the controller for the DH's Center for Health Protection, expressed concern during a media session after the meeting on the latest development of the disease on the Chinese mainland.

"The mortality of Influenza A (H7N9) is very high," Leung said. "Although there is no evidence to show human-to-human transmission, the mutation potential of the virus is high. As such, we will not treat the disease lightly. Doctors are advised to be vigilant and report any suspected cases to the CHP. Health-care workers should exercise appropriate infection control measures at all times. The public should pay particular attention to personal and environmental hygiene and avoid direct contact with animals, birds or poultry."

Leung said the alert response level under Hong Kong's Preparedness Plan for Influenza 2012 has been activated and all relevant control and surveillance measures have been enhanced. Leung advised travelers with respiratory symptoms, particularly travelers returning from Anhui and Shanghai, to wear facial masks, seek medical attention and tell their travel histories to doctors. Healthcare professionals should pay special attention to travelers who might have been in contact with poultry or birds in China.

Leung advised members of the public to avoid direct contact with birds or their droppings, thoroughly cook poultry and eggs before eating, wash hands frequently, cover their nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing and avoid crowded places and contact with sick people.