In response to press inquiries on rumors on human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) and related pneumonia cases in Hong Kong, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health clarified that no human H5N6 cases have been identified in Hong Kong to date.
“Globally, 16 sporadic human H5N6 cases, including 11 known deaths, have been reported so far since the emergence of H5N6 in 2014 and all were in the Mainland. While most patients visited wet markets or had contact with live poultry, there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission among their close contacts. Standard precautions against avian influenza, such as strict personal, hand, food and environmental hygiene, are key to preventing H5N6 infections,” a spokesman for the CHP said.
“All novel influenza A infections, including H5N6, are statutorily notifiable infectious diseases in Hong Kong. Doctors and hospitals are reminded that any patient with acute respiratory illness or pneumonia, or at-risk exposure (including poultry workers and those with a history of visiting markets with live poultry or contact with poultry) in affected areas in the incubation period (10 days before onset), must be managed as suspected cases and immediately reported to the CHP for prompt epidemiological and laboratory investigations, disease control and transparent announcement,” the spokesman said.
“We will continue to remain vigilant and work closely with the World Health Organization and relevant health authorities to monitor the latest developments,” the spokesman added.