|Credit HK CHP|
Hong Kong's CHP has published their latest update from the NHFPC of new H7N9 cases reported over the past 7 days. Although reported between March 3rd and 9th, these cases had onset of symptoms between February 19th and March 3rd.
Despite a slowdown in cases over the past few weeks - likely due to more aggressive closing of live poultry markets in February - this 5th epidemic season's case tally is now more than quadruple the number reported in all of last year (n=118):
499 cases from the Mainland, plus 5 in Hong Kong, 2 in Macao & 1 in Taiwan (total=507).
As always, only the `sickest of the sick' - those ill enough to be hospitalized - are generally tested. How many mild and moderate cases are flying beneath the surveillance radar is unknown.
As reported in yesterday's CDC Updated Risk Assessment On China's H7N9 Virus - while efficient or sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus has not been observed - this Asian lineage H7N9 virus is rated by their Influenza Risk Assessment Tool (IRAT) as having the greatest potential to cause a pandemic
The full report from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection follows. As usual, we'll probably see more individual case information presented in next week's Avian Influenza Report.
CHP notified of human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Mainland
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (March 10) received notification from the National Health and Family Planning Commission that 22 additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9), including three deaths, were recorded from March 3 to 9. The CHP strongly urges the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.
The 15 male and seven female patients, aged from 15 to 79, had their onset from February 19 to March 4. The cases were four cases each from in Henan and Jiangxi, three cases each from Guangxi and Sichuan, two cases each in Fujian, Hunan and Jiangsu, and one case each in Guizhou and Hubei. Among them, 18 were known to have exposure to poultry or poultry markets.
In addition, according to the surveillance of the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, among 939 environmental samples collected from 98 poultry markets in Guangdong between February 27 and March 5, 78 samples (8.3 per cent) tested positive for the H7 virus.
Travellers to the Mainland or other affected areas must avoid visiting wet markets, live poultry markets or farms. They should be alert to the presence of backyard poultry when visiting relatives and friends. They should also avoid purchase of live or freshly slaughtered poultry, and avoid touching poultry/birds or their droppings. They should strictly observe personal and hand hygiene when visiting any place with live poultry.
Travellers returning from affected areas should consult a doctor promptly if symptoms develop, and inform the doctor of their travel history for prompt diagnosis and treatment of potential diseases. It is essential to tell the doctor if they have seen any live poultry during travel, which may imply possible exposure to contaminated environments. This will enable the doctor to assess the possibility of avian influenza and arrange necessary investigations and appropriate treatment in a timely manner.
While local surveillance, prevention and control measures are in place, the CHP will remain vigilant and work closely with the World Health Organization and relevant health authorities to monitor the latest developments.
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 under way. The travel industry and other stakeholders are regularly updated on the latest information.
The public should maintain strict personal, hand, food and environmental hygiene and take heed of the advice below while handling poultry:
- Avoid touching poultry, birds, animals or their droppings;
- When buying live chickens, do not touch them and their droppings. Do not blow at their bottoms. Wash eggs with detergent if soiled with faecal matter and cook and consume them immediately. Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling chickens and eggs;
- Eggs should be cooked well until the white and yolk become firm. Do not eat raw eggs or dip cooked food into any sauce with raw eggs. Poultry should be cooked thoroughly. If there is pinkish juice running from the cooked poultry or the middle part of its bone is still red, the poultry should be cooked again until fully done;
- Wash hands frequently, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes, before handling food or eating, and after going to the toilet, touching public installations or equipment such as escalator handrails, elevator control panels or door knobs, or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing; and
- Wear a mask if fever or respiratory symptoms develop, when going to a hospital or clinic, or while taking care of patients with fever or respiratory symptoms.
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/Friday, March 10, 2017
Issued at HKT 18:20