Chinese authorities have confirmed the first human case of the H7N4 strain of avian influenza.
According to the country’s National Health and Family Planning Commission, a 68-year-old female from the Jiangsu Province developed symptoms on 25 December. She was admitted to hospital on 1st January and discharged on 22 January.
It was confirmed that the woman had close contact with live poultry prior to her infection, and no close contacts displayed symptoms.
A spokesman for Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection said: “All novel influenza A infections, including H7N4, are notifiable infectious diseases in Hong Kong.
“Based on the seasonal pattern, the activity of avian influenza viruses is expected to be higher in winter. 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.”
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Hong Kong border authorities use body scanners to detect travellers with higher than normal temperatures, with suspected cases immediately diverted to hospital for screening.