Friday, 09 August, 2013
Hong Kong heath authorities said on Friday they were monitoring avian flu developments on the mainland after a woman in Guangdong tested positive for the new H7N9 strain.
The case involves a 51-year-old woman living in Huizhou, about 100 kilometres northeast of Hong Kong, who had contact with poultry before falling ill.
The woman had been tested positive for the H7N9 virus in Guangdong provincial laboratories but her samples were being sent to Beijing for further tests to confirm the result, said.Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection controller Dr Leung Ting-hung.
Leung also said Guangdong authorities notified the centre of the case on Friday.
In view of the large number of H7N9 cases in eastern China and the significant mortality rate among them, we must not underestimate the risk to our local citizens
The woman had contact with 36 people, none of whom have showed any bird flu symptoms, Leung said, citing information provided by Guangdong authorities.
The new H7N9 was first identified in eastern China, with the first known human case of the virus reported in March. So far, 134 cases have been reported, resulting in 43 deaths.
Leung said that given the busy traffic between Hong Kong and mainland, it was possible that the virus could spread into the city.
“In view of the large number of H7N9 cases in the eastern part of China and the significant mortality rate among them, we must not underestimate the risk to our local citizens,” he said.
He said a team of Hong Kong health officials and experts would visit Guangdong to meet their counterparts next week to get more information about the new case.
Hong Kong would also continue preventive measures put in place months ago, Leung said. These include the surveillance of travellers’ heath at border stations and raising doctors’ awareness on how to identify patients with avian flu symptoms