Hong Kong's CHP has announced their notification of an additional 18 H7N9 cases from the mainland, details of which should appear in next Tuesday's weekly avian flu report.
The skewing of age and gender (primarily older, male patients) continues, with the youngest patient listed as 37 year of age. Onsets are said to range from March 9th to the 15th.
While still elevated, weekly case counts continue to decrease (down almost 20% over last week) - a sign perhaps that the closing of live poultry markets in major cities is having the desired effect.
Unknown, of course, are how many mild or moderate cases that are never tested or reported (see Beneath The H7N9 Pyramid).
Today's HK update follows:
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (March 24) received notification from the National Health and Family Planning Commission that 18 additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9), including two deaths, were recorded from March 17 to 23. The CHP strongly urges the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.
The 11 male and seven female patients, aged from 37 to 86, had their onset from March 9 to 15. The cases were five cases from Guangxi, four cases in Hunan, two cases each from Hubei and Zhejiang and one case each from Anhui, Fujian, Guizhou, Henan and Jiangxi. Among them, 16 were known to have exposure to poultry or poultry markets.
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 24, 2017Issued at HKT 18:25