The number of H7N9 avian influenza cases reported on Mainland China is now at 564 cases since March 2013, and this number is likely low due to irregular reporting from many provinces in China. In addition, there has been 19 cases of the bird flu exported to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Canada.
More than 300 cases have been reported from two provinces– Zhejiang and Guangdong.
This has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a travel notice Friday. CDC advises people traveling to China to avoid contact with poultry (including poultry markets and farms), birds, and their droppings. There are no recommendations against travel to China.
- Do not touch birds, pigs, or other animals.
- Don’t touch animals, whether they are alive or dead.
- Avoid live bird or poultry markets.
- Avoid other markets or farms with animals (wet markets).
- Eat food that is fully cooked.
- Eat meat and poultry that is fully cooked (not pink) and served hot.
- Eat hard-cooked eggs (not runny).
- Don’t eat or drink dishes that include blood from any animal.
- Don’t eat food from street vendors.
- Practice hygiene and cleanliness.
- Wash your hands often.
- If soap and water aren’t available, clean your hands with hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Try to avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups, with people who are sick.
- If you feel sick and think you may have avian flu after visiting China:
- Talk to your doctor or nurse if you feel seriously ill, especially if you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
- Tell them about your travel to China.
There is no vaccine to prevent H7N9 flu.
Avian influenza A (H7N9) is an influenza (flu) virus found in birds that does not normally infect humans. However, in spring of 2013, China began reporting infections with the virus in people. Most of these infections have been associated with contact with infected poultry or contaminated environments (such as poultry markets) in China. Early symptoms are consistent with seasonal flu and may include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches and fatigue, loss of appetite, and runny or stuffy nose. However, infection with this virus often causes severe respiratory illness and, in some cases, death.