CHINA : (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (March 9) received notification of 19 additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) with the onset dates in the past five weeks prior to February 25 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 comprise 13 males and six females aged from 3 to 76. Three of them (one man and two women) died and two (one man and one woman) were in critical condition. Eleven cases are from Zhejiang, three are from Jiangsu, two are from Hunan, one is from Fujian, one is from Guizhou and one is from Jiangxi.
To date, 618 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities in Guangdong (181 cases), Zhejiang (167 cases), Jiangsu (73 cases), Fujian (59 cases), Shanghai (45 cases), Hunan (26 cases), Anhui (24 cases), Xinjiang (10 cases), Jiangxi (10 cases), Shandong (six cases), Beijing (five cases), Henan (four cases), Guangxi (three cases), Jilin (two cases), Guizhou (two cases) and Hebei (one case).
“Locally, we will remain vigilant and work closely with the World Health Organization and relevant health authorities to monitor the latest developments,” a spokesman for the DH said.
Health surveillance measures have been implemented at all boundary control points. Thermal imaging systems are in place for body temperature checks on inbound travellers and the DH also conducts temperature checks by handheld devices. Suspected cases will be immediately referred to public hospitals for follow-up.
Regarding health education for travellers, the display of posters and broadcasting of health messages in departure and arrival halls, environmental health inspection and provision of regular updates to the travel industry and other stakeholders are ongoing.
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. Health-care 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.