The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) of Hong Kong (November 23) received notification of an additional human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in Jiangsu from the National Health Commission, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.
The case involved a 10-year-old girl from Gusu district of Suzhou city in Jiangsu province. She developed symptoms on October 29 and was hospitalised on November 3. She is now in a serious condition.
From 2014 to date, 23 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities.
"All novel influenza A infections, including H5N6, are notifiable infectious diseases in Hong Kong," the spokesman said.
Travellers to the Mainland or other affected areas must avoid visiting wet markets, live poultry markets or farms. They should be alert to the presence of backyard poultry when visiting relatives and friends. They should also avoid purchasing live or freshly slaughtered poultry, and avoid touching poultry/birds or their droppings. They should strictly observe personal and hand hygiene when visiting any place with live poultry.
Travellers returning from affected areas should consult a doctor promptly if symptoms develop, and inform the doctor of their travel history for prompt diagnosis and treatment of potential diseases. It is essential to tell the doctor if they have seen any live poultry during travel, which may imply possible exposure to contaminated environments. This will enable the doctor to assess the possibility of avian influenza and arrange necessary investigations and appropriate treatment in a timely manner.
While local surveillance, prevention and control measures are in place, the CHP will remain vigilant and work closely with the World Health Organization and relevant health authorities to monitor the latest developments.
The CHP´s Port Health Office conducts health surveillance measures at all boundary control points. Thermal imaging systems are in place for body temperature checks on inbound travellers. Suspected cases will be immediately referred to public hospitals for follow-up.
The display of posters and broadcasting of health messages in departure and arrival halls as health education for travellers is under way. The travel industry and other stakeholders are regularly updated on the latest information.