Hong Kong health officials are reporting the second imported human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Hong Kong this winter. This would make the 12th imported case total reported in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong/CIA
Hong Kong/CIA

The male patient, aged 79 with good past health, has presented with runny nose, sore throat and cough with sputum since January 19 and consulted a private doctor on the same day. He then attended the Accident and Emergency Department (AED) of Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital yesterday (January 22) and was found febrile. He has been transferred to the Hospital Authority Infectious Disease Centre in Princess Margaret Hospital for further management and isolation and has been in stable condition all along.

His nasopharyngeal aspirate tested positive for avian influenza A(H7N9) upon preliminary laboratory testing by the CHP’s Public Health Laboratory Services Branch.

Initial epidemiological investigations revealed that the patient had travelled to Zhangmutou, Dongguan, Guangdong, on January 5 on his own during which he had visited a wet market with live poultry stalls but with no direct contact with poultry. He returned to Hong Kong on January 19 via Lo Wu Control Point. Based on information available thus far, it is classified as an imported case.

“Based on the seasonal pattern, it is likely that the activity of avian influenza viruses might further increase in winter and heightened vigilance is warranted. As the Serious Response Level under the Preparedness Plan for Influenza Pandemic remains activated, we again urge the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel,” a spokesman for the CHP said.