|H7N9 Epidemic Waves - Credit FAO - Updated June 7th|
After two weeks where the number of new H7N9 cases had dropped into the single digits, today China's NHFPC has notified Hong Kong's CHP of 12 new infections over the past week.
By the beginning of June, China's `winter epidemic' of H7N9 is normally over, and doesn't start up again until cooler temperatures return in the fall.In years past, a dozen cases recorded between June 1st and the end of September would have qualified as a remarkably active summer. Last year a dozen `out of season cases' fueled a lot of speculation that the virus was becoming more `heat tolerant', a concern that will no doubt be raised again if this trend continues.
While we still expect (read:`hope') to see a lull in cases this summer, for now H7N9 continues to do what it will, breaking all the `rules' and records in the process.This from Hong Kong's CHP.
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (June 9) is monitoring a notification from the National Health and Family Planning Commission that 12 additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) were recorded from June 2 to 8, and strongly urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.
The eight male and four female patients, aged from 4 to 68, had onset from May 20 to June 3. Three of them are from Beijing, two each from Anhui, Chongqing and Henan, and one each from Jiangsu, Shaanxi and Shandong. Two cases reported in Beijing were likely infected in Hebei and Shanxi while the case reported in Shaanxi was likely infected in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Among them, nine were known to have exposure to poultry, poultry markets or mobile stalls.
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.
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