On Sunday, in H7N9: Jiangsu Reports 4 Cases, Fujian Reports 1 For November we looked at a pair of bare-bones provincial monthly reports that cited 5 H7N9 cases during the month of November. Other than the province of origin, and the number of cases, no information was provided.
Today Hong Kong's CHP has been notified of those same 5 cases, and this time we get a bit more detail (age, gender, city, exposure & condition).Hong Kong, which has detected 16 imported cases of H7N9 since 2013, lies adjacent to Guangdong Province, which has reported the 2nd highest number of H7N9 infections (n=196) and the highest number of H5N6 cases (n=7) since each virus emerged.
Not quite 20 years ago - in May of 1997 - Hong Kong was ground zero for the first H5N1 outbreak in humans (n=18), and in 2003 Hong Kong bore the brunt of the SARS Epidemic (see SARS and Remembrance), which saw 1750 local cases and 286 deaths.All of which makes Hong Kong's public health system particularly sensitive to, and wary of, emerging health threats such as avian influenza.
CHP notified of five human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Mainland
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (December 13) received notification of five additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) from the National Health and Family Planning Commission, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.
The patients are:
- A man aged 59 from Fuzhou, Fujian, exposed to poultry market, in serious condition;
- A male farmer aged 58 from Kunshan, Jiangsu, in serious condition;
- A man aged 63 from Nantong, Jiangsu, exposed to poultry market, in serious condition;
- A man aged 32 from Kunshan, Jiangsu, exposed to poultry market, in serious condition; and
- A man aged 64 from Suzhou, Jiangsu, exposed to poultry market, in serious condition.
"Based on the seasonal pattern of avian influenza viruses, their activity in the Mainland is expected to increase in winter. The public should avoid contact with poultry, birds and their droppings and should not visit live poultry markets and farms to prevent avian influenza, particularly during travel in the upcoming Christmas and New Year holidays," a spokesman for the CHP said.
From 2013 to date, 783 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities.
"We will remain vigilant and work closely with the World Health Organization and relevant health authorities to monitor the latest developments," the spokesman said.
The CHP's Port Health Office conducts health surveillance measures at all boundary control points. Thermal imaging systems are in place for body temperature checks on inbound travellers. Suspected cases will be immediately referred to public hospitals for follow-up.
The display of posters and broadcasting of health messages in departure and arrival halls as health education for travellers is underway. The travel industry and other stakeholders are regularly updated on the latest information.
Travellers, especially those returning from avian influenza-affected areas with fever or respiratory symptoms, should immediately wear masks, seek medical attention and reveal their travel history to doctors. Healthcare professionals should pay special attention to patients who might have had contact with poultry, birds or their droppings in affected areas.
The public should remain vigilant and take heed of the advice against avian influenza below:
- Do not visit live poultry markets and farms. Avoid contact with poultry, birds and their droppings;
- If contact has been made, thoroughly wash hands with soap;
- Avoid entering areas where poultry may be slaughtered and contact with surfaces which might be contaminated by droppings of poultry or other animals;
- Poultry and eggs should be thoroughly cooked before eating;
- Wash hands frequently with soap, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes, handling food or eating; after going to the toilet or touching public installations or equipment (including escalator handrails, elevator control panels and door knobs); and when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing;
- Cover the nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing, hold the spit with a tissue and put it into a covered dustbin;
- Avoid crowded places and contact with fever patients; and
- Wear masks when respiratory symptoms develop or when taking care of fever patients.
The public may visit the CHP's pages for more information: the avian influenza page, the weekly Avian Influenza Report, global statistics and affected areas of avian influenza, the Facebook Page and the YouTube Channel.
Ends/Tuesday, December 13, 2016*-+'/
Issued at HKT 16:38