One Case of Human Infection H7N9 Virus in China is Reported to WHO

On Jan. 23, 2015, the Department of Health, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of one additional laboratory-confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus.

The patient is a 79-year-old male who developed symptoms on Jan. 19 and consulted a doctor on the same day. He attended the Accident and Emergency Department (AED) of Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital on Jan. 22. Then the patient was transferred to the Hospital Authority Infectious Disease Centre in Princess Margaret Hospital for further management and isolation. He has been in stable condition all along.

Based on information available thus far, it is considered that the patient was infected outside Hong Kong. Initial epidemiological investigations revealed that he traveled to Zhangmutou, Dongguan, Guangdong on Jan. 5. During his travels, the patient visited a wet market with live poultry stalls but had no direct contact with poultry. He returned to Hong Kong on Jan. 19.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) is tracing the contacts of the patient. So far, no positive cases have been detected. The investigation is ongoing.

WHO continues to closely monitor the H7N9 situation and conduct risk assessment. So far, the overall risk associated with the H7N9 virus has not changed.

WHO advises that travelers to countries with known outbreaks of avian influenza should avoid poultry farms, or contact with animals in live bird markets, or entering areas where poultry may be slaughtered, or contact with any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals. Travelers should also wash their hands often with soap and water. Travelers should follow good food safety and good food hygiene practices.

WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event, nor does it currently recommend any travel or trade restrictions. As always, a diagnosis of infection with an avian influenza virus should be considered in individuals who develop severe acute respiratory symptoms while traveling or soon after returning from an area where avian influenza is a concern.

WHO encourages countries to continue strengthening influenza surveillance, including surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual patterns, in order to ensure reporting of human infections under the IHR (2005), and continue national health preparedness actions.

Source: WHO

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