************************************************** ** The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) was today (January 14) notified of two additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Guangdong, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.
According to the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province, the two patients in Jieyang and Zhongshan were hospitalised for treatment in stable condition.
"H5 and H7N9 avian influenza viruses can cause severe infections in humans. Due to the seasonal pattern, our risk assessment shows that the activity of avian influenza viruses is expected to increase in winter months. Increased numbers of human H5N6 and H7N9 cases have been recorded in the Mainland since this winter. Locally, birds positive for H5N6 were also detected this winter. The public, particularly poultry traders, travellers and those who may visit the Mainland in the coming Lunar New Year, should be highly alert. Do not visit poultry markets and farms. Avoid poultry contact. We will continue to monitor the regional and global disease situation," a spokesman for the CHP said.
From 2013 to date, 680 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities.
The DH'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 broadcast 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.
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 CHP's pages below for more information:
* The avian influenza page (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/24244.html);
* The weekly Avian Influenza Report (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/3879.html);
* The avian influenza-affected areas and global statistics (http://www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/glob...luenza_e.pdf);
* The Facebook Page (www.fb.com/CentreforHealthProtection); and
* The YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/c/ChpGovHkChannel).
Ends/Thursday, January 14, 2016
Issued at HKT 17:22