Hong Kong announces second confirmed case of H7N9 avian flu

The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health of Hong Kong announced on Friday its second confirmed case of avian influenza A H7N9 and asked the public to take precautions against infection.

The new patient, an 80-year-old man, lives in Shenzen and has an underlying chronic medical condition. He fell ill on Dec 3 and was taken to the Tuen Mun Hospital, where he was admitted the same day.

A nasopharyngeal swab taken from the patient tested positive for avian influenza A H7N9, but he is reported to be in stable condition. An investigation is underway to find the source of infection and CHP officials ask that the victim's family and anyone else with whom he recently came into contact seek medical attention.

"The Serious Response Level under the Government's Preparedness Plan for Influenza Pandemic has been activated while the CHP's epidemiological investigation and follow-up actions are currently in full swing," a CHP spokesman said.

With the second case of avian flu confirmed the in nation, CHP officials ask that the public protect themselves against falling victim to infection.

"Travelers, especially those returning from avian influenza A (H7N9)-affected areas with fever or respiratory symptoms, are reminded to immediately wear facial masks, seek medical attention and reveal their travel history to a doctor," the CHP spokesman said. "Healthcare professionals should also pay special attention to patients who might have had contact with birds, poultry or their droppings in affected areas."

The CHP also advised the public to mind their hygiene practices, as this is a key component to the spread of infection.