The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today closely monitoring four additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in the Mainland, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

H7N9 avian influenza Image/CDC
H7N9 avian influenza

Among the four cases, two patients respectively from Kangping County in Shenyang and Beipiao City in Chaoyang, Liaoning are in a stable condition. A 67-year-old male patient from Hengyang, Hunan has a history of poultry contact and is in a critical condition, while the remaining patient from Wangmo County in Guizhou is currently under management in hospital.

“According to a report from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, under the routine environmental surveillance in affected provinces like Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong, the positive rate of H7N9 among environmental samples collected from live poultry markets or other live poultry-related environments increased in December 2016 and was higher than the rates in the same period in previous years.

A spokesman for the CHP said, “We strongly urge the public to avoid touching birds, poultry or their droppings and visiting poultry markets or farms during travel. If feeling unwell, such as having a fever or cough, wear a mask and seek medical advice at once. Travellers returning from affected areas should consult doctors promptly if symptoms develop, and actively inform the doctors of their travel history for prompt diagnosis and treatment.

“Adults and parents should also look after children with extra care in personal, hand, food and environmental hygiene against infections during travel.

“While local surveillance, prevention and control measures are in place, we will remain vigilant and work closely with the World Health Organization and relevant health authorities to monitor the latest developments.”