CHINA : The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (October 18) received notification from the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of two cases of human infection of avian influenza A(H7N9) affecting a woman aged 44 in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and a girl aged 7 in Beijing. The 44-year-old woman passed away last month.
A total of 440 cases were confirmed in the Mainland, including Zhejiang (139 cases), Guangdong (109 cases), Jiangsu (56 cases), Shanghai (41 cases), Hunan (24 cases), Fujian (22 cases), Anhui (17 cases), Jiangxi (eight cases), Shandong (five cases), Beijing (five cases), Henan (four cases), Guangxi (three cases), Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (three cases), Jilin (two cases), Guizhou (one case) and Hebei (one case).
“Locally, we will remain vigilant and maintain liaison with the World Health Organization (WHO) and relevant health authorities. Local surveillance activities are ongoing according to the WHO’s recommendations,” a spokesman for the DH said.
“In view of cases confirmed in the Mainland, further sporadic cases are expected in affected and possibly neighbouring areas. Those planning to travel outside Hong Kong should maintain good personal, environmental and food hygiene at all times,” the spokesman urged.
“All boundary control points have implemented disease prevention and control measures. Thermal imaging systems are in place for body temperature checks of inbound travellers. Suspected cases will be immediately referred to public hospitals for follow-up investigation,” the spokesman added.
Regarding health education for travellers, display of posters and broadcast of health messages in departure and arrival halls, environmental health inspection and provision of regular updates to the travel industry via meetings and correspondence are proceeding.
Travellers, especially those returning from avian influenza-affected areas and provinces with fever or respiratory symptoms, should immediately wear masks, seek medical attention and reveal their travel history to doctors. Health-care professionals should pay special attention to patients who might have had contact with poultry, birds or their droppings in affected areas and provinces.
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.