Bird flu strikes again in Hong Kong

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

Hong Kong on alert after second bird flu case
Hong Kong on alert after second bird flu case

Related tags Hong kong Influenza Livestock Poultry

A second person has fallen ill with avian influenza H7N9 in Hong Kong, although authorities have labelled it an “imported case”.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) said the patient, an 80-year-old man from Shenzhen, arrived in Hong Kong on 3 December and took a taxi directly to Tuen Mun Hospital (TMH), where he was admitted for management of an existing chronic illness.

He had no fever on arrival at the hospital, but developed a fever on 6 December. Testing confirmed H7N9 and the patient has been transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital for isolation, where he remains stable.

The CHP added that 19 people who had come in contact with the man, including the taxi driver, remained under quarantine, but had so far tested negative for H7N9. It added that a further 140 other contacts of the patient had been put under medical surveillance and offered Tamiflu.

Mainland issue

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, moved to reassure citizens by pointing out that the patient did not have “any history of exposure in Hong Kong”,​ so could be classed as an “imported case”.​ He stressed that CHP was maintaining a close liaison on disease control with mainland authorities, particularly in Shenzhen.

“It has been agreed in principle that, within a few days, the CHP will send experts to the mainland to have meetings with their mainland counterparts to strengthen the collaboration between the two places,”​ he said.

The first victim of H7N9 in Hong Kong, who is thought to have contracted the virus after travelling to Shenzhen and buying and eating a chicken, remains in hospital, although authorities said her condition had “improved”.

The CHP repeated warnings to Hong Kong citizens to avoid live poultry markets and any other contact with live birds in affected areas of the mainland.

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