The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (February 23) reported the latest updates of the third confirmed imported human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Hong Kong this winter.

Hong Kong/CIA
Hong Kong/CIA

“We again urge the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel as the Serious Response Level under the Preparedness Plan for Influenza Pandemic remains activated. If symptoms develop after travel, immediately wear masks, seek medical attention and reveal travel history to doctors,” a spokesman for the CHP said

Both the nasopharyngeal and endotracheal aspirates of the male patient aged 61 tested positive for influenza A(H7N9) virus and negative for influenza A(H1) and (H3) viruses this morning upon preliminary testing by the CHP’s Public Health Laboratory Services Branch. Genetic characterisation is under way.

“While the activity of avian influenza viruses in the Mainland and human seasonal influenza viruses in Hong Kong remains high this winter and heightened vigilance and extra attention to hygiene are warranted, we will closely monitor the virus activity and genetic nature.

“Genetic analysis to date has revealed that H7N9 viruses confirmed in Hong Kong have remained to be of avian origin and had no significant differences from those detected in the Mainland, nor has there been evidence of reassortment with genes from human seasonal influenza viruses or resistance to the antiviral oseltamivir (Tamiflu),” the spokesman said.

Epidemiological investigations by the CHP have so far located 10 close contacts and 16 other contacts of the patient.

The CHP is communicating with the health authorities of Guangdong and Shenzhen to follow up on the patient’s movements and contacts during his stay in the Mainland. Based on information available thus far, it is classified as an imported case. Investigations are ongoing.

This is the 13th imported human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) confirmed in Hong Kong.