************************************************** ********* The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (January 12) closely monitoring two additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) notified by the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province (GDHFPC), and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.
According to the GDHFPC, the male patient (aged 42) in Shenzhen and the female patient (aged 52) in Dongguan were hospitalised for management and are in a critical condition.
To date, 460 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities, respectively in Zhejiang (141 cases), Guangdong (117 cases), Jiangsu (59 cases), Shanghai (42 cases), Hunan (24 cases), Fujian (23 cases), Anhui (17 cases), Jiangxi (eight cases), Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (eight cases), Beijing (five cases), Shandong (five cases), Henan (four cases), Guangxi (three cases), Jilin (two cases), Guizhou (one case) 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.
All boundary control points have implemented health surveillance measures. 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 DH's Port Health Office has enhanced body temperature checks by handheld devices.
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 will be enhanced.
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.
The public may visit the pages below for more information:
* The CHP's avian influenza page (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/24244.html); and
* Global statistics and affected areas of avian influenza in the CHP's website (www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/global_statistics_avian_influenza_e.pdf).
Ends/Monday, January 12, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:21