Category Archives: China

China | Yunnan – Human case of avian influenza H5N1 in critical condition

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (March 25) received notification from the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of a human case of avian influenza A(H5N1) affecting a man aged 17 in Yunnan.

According to the information provided by NHFPC, the patient lives in Kunming and has presented with fever and headache on March 13. He attended a local hospital on March 20. The patient is currently hospitalised for treatment in critical condition. His specimen, which was tested by the relevant authority, was positive for avian influenza A(H5N1).

China | Confirmed fatal case of H5N1 avian influenza in Sichuan

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (March 13) received notification from the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of a human case of avian influenza A(H5N1) affecting a man aged 46 in Sichuan.

According to the information provided by NHFPC, the patient is a poultry worker who lived in Suining. He developed a cough and chest discomfort on February 18. He attended a local hospital on February 21 and passed away on February 27. His specimen, which was tested by the relevant authority, was positive for avian influenza A(H5N1).

China | 59 additional confirmed cases of infection with avian flu H7N9 including 17 deaths

On 9 March 2015, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China notified WHO of 59 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus, including 17 fatal cases. Onset dates ranged from 21 January to 25 February 2015.

Below is a breakdown of the 59 cases included in this notification by epidemiological week of symptom onset:

  • Week 4 (19 – 25 January) 5 cases
  • Week 5 (26 January – 1 February) 13 cases
  • Week 6 (2 – 8 February) 9 cases
  • Week 7 (9 – 15 February) 15 cases
  • Week 8 (16 – 22 February) 14 cases
  • Week 9 (24 – 25 February) 3 cases

Of these 59 cases, 44 (75%) were male. The majority (49 cases, 83%) reported exposure to live poultry or live poultry markets; the exposure history of six cases is unknown or unavailable. Three family clusters were reported, each comprised of two cases; four of the six cases had exposure to live poultry or live poultry markets, one case had no exposure to poultry, and one case is still under investigation. Cases were reported from nine provinces: Anhui (4), Fujian (1), Guangdong (35), Guizhou (1), Hunan (2), Jiangsu (3), Jiangxi (1), Shanghai (1), and Zhejiang (11).

The Chinese Government has taken the following surveillance and control measures

  • Strengthen epidemiological and etiological monitoring and situation analysis.
  • Strengthen case management and medical treatment.
  • Further strengthen measures like disinfection of commercial live poultry markets, closure of live poultry markets in places where infections occurred, and promotion of centralized slaughter and frozen products.
  • Provide information to the public.

WHO is monitoring the epidemiological situation and conducting further risk assessment based on the latest information.

Further sporadic human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) infection are expected in affected and possibly neighbouring areas. Should human cases from affected areas travel internationally, their infection may be detected in another country during or after arrival. If this were to occur, community level spread is considered unlikely as the virus does not appear to have the ability to transmit easily among humans.

WHO advice

WHO advises that travellers to countries with known outbreaks of avian influenza should avoid poultry farms, or contact with animals in live bird markets, or entering areas where poultry may be slaughtered, or contact with any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with faeces from poultry or other animals. Travellers should also wash their hands often with soap and water. Travellers should follow good food safety and good food hygiene practices.

WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event, nor does it currently recommend any travel or trade restrictions. As always, a diagnosis of infection with an avian influenza virus should be considered in individuals who develop severe acute respiratory symptoms while travelling or soon after returning from an area where avian influenza is a concern.

WHO encourages countries to continue strengthening influenza surveillance, including surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual patterns, in order to ensure reporting of human infections under the IHR (2005), and continue national health preparedness actions.

China | Hong Kong – Third imported human case of H7N9 avian flu – 17 close contacts now under quarantine

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (February 24) reported the latest updates on the third imported human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Hong Kong this winter, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

Epidemiological investigations by the CHP have so far located 17 close contacts and 99 other contacts of the patient.

(A) Close contacts
——————

The close contacts will be put under quarantine and prescribed with antiviral presumptive treatment until the completion of the five-day treatment, or 10 days since last exposure to the patient, whichever is earlier. They include:

* An asymptomatic family member of the patient who tested negative for influenza A virus;
* Five asymptomatic healthcare workers (HCWs) involved in Queen Mary Hospital (QMH);
* Seven in-patients admitted to the same cubicle as the confirmed patient in QMH among which six were asymptomatic while the remaining one is under tracing; and
* Three patients and one who accompanied one of them attending the same private clinic in Aberdeen with the confirmed patient. They are all asymptomatic.

The Lady MacLehose Holiday Village in Sai Kung under the Leisure and Cultural Services Department has been converted to a quarantine centre for asymptomatic close contacts, including the HCWs involved in QMH.

(B) Other contacts
——————

Other contacts have been put under medical surveillance and they include:

* Another asymptomatic family member who visited the confirmed patient in QMH;
* 77 HCWs involved in QMH;
* 15 asymptomatic clinic contacts including a private doctor, staff and patients of the private clinic; and
* Six colleagues of the patient among whom one had mild upper respiratory tract infection symptoms before exposure to the patient while the rest are asymptomatic.

Investigations and contact tracing are ongoing.

China | Hong Kong – Priority flu care for seniors as death toll rises to 228

The elderly may be given priority allocation of influenza vaccines when new supplies become available later this year.

Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases Chairman Dr Chow Chun-bong told reporters today the infection situation for seniors aged 85 and above is very serious, so giving them priority is being considered.

The committee will also analyse the infection figures in chronic disease patients to see which diseases bring a higher risk of flu complications, and may also give these patients priority in getting flu vaccinations.

He said the committee will make its recommendation when more information on the vaccine supply is available.

Centre for Health Protection Controller Dr Leung Ting-hung said the Government is forming a working group to implement the committee’s recommendations, and will discuss ways to boost vaccine coverage.

He also reported 22 new severe adult influenza cases were recorded from noon yesterday to noon today, including 18 deaths. It brings the total number of severe adult cases to 322, including 228 deaths.

China | Hong Kong – Govt provides grant of US$500K to family of firefighter killed in the line of duty

About $4 million will be donated to the family of Principal Fireman Leung Kwok-kei who was fatally injured on duty last year.

The money will be granted under the Financial Assistance Scheme for Family Members of Those Who Sacrifice Their Lives to Save Others.

Officer Leung died on December 4 after sustaining serious head injuries in an explosion that occurred while he was attempting to rescue people from a gas leak in Shek Kip Mei Estate on November 22.

Secretary for Labour & Welfare Matthew Cheung, who chairs the committee approving the grants, presented the notification letter to Officer Leung’s family at the Fire Services Department Headquarters today and hailed the officer for his bravery.

“Mr Leung demonstrated a high degree of gallantry and selflessness to save and protect the lives of others. He spared no effort in rescuing people, risking his own life even in the face of grave danger. His professionalism and self-sacrifice command our greatest respect,” Mr Cheung said.

“We deeply mourn the loss of such an outstanding and devoted public servant. The grant represents the Government’s recognition of Mr Leung’s act of exceptional courage and gallantry of the highest order.”

China | Hong Kong – Ten more severe adult flu cases including seven deaths – in past 24 hours

Ten new severe adult influenza cases including seven deaths were reported from noon yesterday to noon today, Centre for Health Protection Controller Dr Leung Ting-hung has announced.

This brings the total number to 266 (181 deaths) so far. Apart from the seven deaths among newly reported cases, there was one additional death in the past 24 hours among previously reported cases requiring intensive care unit admission. Among all cases, 256 were A(H3N2), six were B and four were A pending subtype. In the last winter season in early 2014, 266 (133 deaths) were filed.

Meanwhile, no additional case of severe paediatric influenza-associated complication or death among children aged under 18 has been reported since yesterday via the ongoing reporting system. The total number of cases this year remains at 14 (no deaths). Among these cases, 13 were A(H3N2) and one was A pending subtype. In 2014, 27 (four deaths) were filed.

Briefing the media this afternoon, Dr Leung said flu activity remained at a high level and it is expected to remain that way for some time.

He urged people stay vigilant and pay attention to personal hygiene in a collective effort to slow down the spread of the disease and shorten the flu season.

China | 83 additional confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza H7N9 – including 19 deaths

On 4 February 2015, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China notified WHO of 83 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus. Onset dates ranged from 20 December 2014 to 27 January 2015.

Below is a breakdown of the 83 cases included in this notification by epidemiological week of symptom onset:

  • On 20 December 2014: 2 cases
  • Week 52 (22 – 28 December 2014): 8 cases
  • Week 1 (29 December 2014 – 4 January 2015): 16 cases
  • Week 2 (5 – 11 January 2015): 21 cases
  • Week 3 (12 – 18 January 2015): 20 cases
  • Week 4 (19 – 25 January 2015): 13 cases
  • 26 – 27 January 2015: 3 cases

Cases ranged in age from 1 to 88 years with a median age of 56 years. Of the 83 cases, there were 19 deaths reported, ranged in age from 7 to 78 years with a mean age of 50 years. 60 of these 83 cases were male. The majority (78 cases, 93%) reported exposure to live poultry or live poultry markets; the exposure history of 4 cases is unknown.

Three family clusters were reported, each comprised of 2 cases; all had exposure to live poultry or live poultry markets. Cases were reported from 8 provinces: Fujian (30), Guangdong (30), Jiangsu (7), Jiangxi (1), Shandong (1), Shanghai (2), Xinjiang (1), and Zhejiang (11).

The Chinese Government has taken the following surveillance and control measures

  • Strengthen surveillance and situation analysis.
  • Reinforce case management and medical treatment.
  • Conduct risk communication with the public and release information.

WHO, in close collaboration with China, is monitoring the epidemiological situation and conducting further risk assessment based on the latest information.

Further sporadic human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) infection are expected in affected and possibly neighbouring areas. Should human cases from affected areas travel internationally, their infection may be detected in another country during or after arrival. If this were to occur, community level spread is considered unlikely as the virus does not appear to have the ability to transmit easily among humans.

WHO advice

WHO advises that travellers to countries with known outbreaks of avian influenza should avoid poultry farms, or contact with animals in live bird markets, or entering areas where poultry may be slaughtered, or contact with any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with faeces from poultry or other animals. Travellers should also wash their hands often with soap and water. Travellers should follow good food safety and good food hygiene practices.

WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event, nor does it currently recommend any travel or trade restrictions. As always, a diagnosis of infection with an avian influenza virus should be considered in individuals who develop severe acute respiratory symptoms while travelling or soon after returning from an area where avian influenza is a concern.

WHO encourages countries to continue strengthening influenza surveillance, including surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual patterns, in order to ensure reporting of human infections under the IHR (2005), and continue national health preparedness actions

China | Notification of confirmed human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in Yunnan

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) has been notified by the National Health and Family Planning Commission of a confirmed human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) today (February 9) affecting a 44-year-old man in Yunnan province.

The patient, with poultry exposure history, has developed fever, cough and chills since January 27. He was admitted to a local hospital on the same day and died on February 6.

“All novel influenza A infections (including H5N6) are notifiable diseases in Hong Kong,” a spokesman for the DH said.

“Locally, we will remain vigilant and work closely with the World Health Organization and relevant health authorities to monitor the latest developments,” the spokesman said.

“In view of cases confirmed on the Mainland, members of the public should maintain good personal, food and environmental hygiene at all times during travel,” the spokesman urged.

“All boundary control points have implemented disease prevention and control measures. Thermal imaging systems are in place for body temperature checks of inbound travellers. Suspected cases will be immediately referred to public hospitals for follow-up investigation,” the spokesman added.

Regarding health education for travellers, the display of posters and broadcast of health messages in departure and arrival halls, environmental health inspection and provision of regular updates to the travel industry via meetings and correspondence are proceeding.

Travellers, especially those returning from avian influenza-affected areas with fever or respiratory symptoms, should immediately wear masks, seek medical attention and reveal their travel history to doctors. Healthcare professionals should pay special attention to patients who might have had contact with poultry, birds or their droppings in affected areas.

The public should remain vigilant and take heed of the advice against avian influenza below:

* Do not visit live poultry markets and farms. Avoid contact with poultry, birds and their droppings;
* If contact has been made, thoroughly wash hands with soap;
* Avoid entering areas where poultry may be slaughtered and contact with surfaces which might be contaminated by droppings of poultry or other animals;
* Poultry and eggs should be thoroughly cooked before eating;
* Wash hands frequently with soap, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes, handling food or eating; after going to the toilet or touching public installations or equipment (including escalator handrails, elevator control panels and door knobs); and when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing;
* Cover the nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing, hold the spit with a tissue and put it into a covered dustbin;
* Avoid crowded places and contact with fever patients; and
* Wear masks when respiratory symptoms develop or when taking care of fever
patients.

The public may visit the avian influenza page of the CHP of the DH (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/24244.html) for more information on avian influenza. The updated information of affected areas can be found on the following webpage:
www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/global_statistics_avian_influenza_e.pdf

China | Hong Kong – Number of cases of severe influenza to date rises to 224 including 145 deaths

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (February 9) reported the latest surveillance data of the winter influenza season, and again urged the public to heighten vigilance and get vaccinated early against seasonal influenza.

Regarding severe cases, from noon yesterday (February 8) to noon today, six additional cases of influenza-associated admission to intensive care units or death (including two deaths) among adults aged 18 or above have been recorded under the enhanced surveillance in collaboration with public and private hospitals reactivated since January 2. This brings the total number to 224 (145 deaths) so far. Apart from the two deaths among newly reported cases, there was one additional death in the past 24 hours among previously reported cases requiring intensive care unit admission. Among all cases, 213 were A(H3N2), five were B and six were A pending subtype. In the last winter season in early 2014, 266 (133 deaths) were filed.

Meanwhile, no additional cases of severe paediatric influenza-associated complication or death among children aged under 18 have been reported since yesterday via the ongoing reporting system. The total this year hence remains at 11 (no deaths) and all were A(H3N2). In 2014, 27 (four deaths) were filed.

Since December 2014, the CHP has issued three letters to schools reminding them a series of measures to prevent influenza and respiratory tract infection. They are also advised to make reference to the Guidelines on Prevention of Communicable Diseases in Schools/Kindergartens/Kindergartens-cum-Child Care Centres/Child Care Centres published by the CHP, which can be accessed at
www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/guidelines_on_prevention_of_communicable_diseases_in_schools_kindergartens_kindergartens_cum_child_care-centres_child_are_centres.pdf.

CHP has also enhanced the health education on prevention against influenza, including the collaboration with district offices and district councils through co-ordination by the Home Affairs Department, with a view to strengthening the promotion of health related messages in the local community.

The public should maintain good personal and environmental hygiene against influenza and other respiratory illnesses:

* Receive seasonal influenza vaccination for personal protection;
* Wash hands with liquid soap and water properly whenever possibly contaminated;
* When hands are not visibly soiled, clean them with 70 to 80 per cent alcohol-based handrub;
* Cover the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, and wash hands thoroughly afterwards;
* Dispose of soiled tissue paper properly in a lidded rubbish bin;
* Put on a surgical mask when respiratory symptoms develop;
* Maintain good indoor ventilation;
* When influenza is prevalent, avoid going to crowded or poorly ventilated public places; high-risk individuals may consider putting on surgical masks when staying in such places; and
* Maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly, take adequate rest, do not smoke and avoid overstress.

The public may visit the CHP’s pages below for more information:

* The influenza page (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/14843.html);
* The weekly Flu Express report (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/2108.html);
* The update on severe seasonal influenza cases (www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/flu_update_en.pdf);
* The vaccination schemes page (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/17980.html);
* The list of participating doctors (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/34664.html);
* The Facebook Page (fb.com/CentreforHealthProtection); and
* The YouTube Channel (youtube.com/c/ChpGovHkChannel).