Hong Kong H7N9 steps; H2N2 threat assessment; Low-path avian flu outbreaks

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
By Paul Martin

Dec 04, 2013

Hong Kong initiates border monitoring, quarantine over H7N9 case
Authorities are monitoring incoming travelers for disease and have quarantined 17 close contacts of the first H7N9 avian flu patient identified in Hong Kong, its Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said today in a statement.

“All border control points (BCPs) have implemented disease prevention and control measures. Thermal imaging systems are well in place at BCPs for body temperature checks of inbound travellers,” a spokesman for Hong Kong’s Department of Health said in the statement.

Officials have identified 17 close contacts and more than 220 other contacts, the CHP statement said. The close contacts include 10 home contacts, including 4 with nonspecific symptoms, a friend who traveled to Shenzhen with the case-patient, and 6 patients who stayed in the same cubicle with the female 36-year-old H7N9 patient in Tuen Mun Hospital.

The close contacts were prescribed the antiviral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) as a precaution, and all tested negative for H7N9 on preliminary lab tests. Asymptomatic close contacts will live in a designated quarantine village for 10 days since their last contact with the index patient, who is a domestic helper from Indonesia.

The other contacts are being monitored and have been offered oseltamivir, the CHP said.

The agency said travelers who return to Hong Kong with a fever or respiratory symptoms, especially from H7N9-affected areas, should seek medical attention.

In a separate government statement today, Ko Wing-man, MBBS, secretary for food and health, said the risk of a community H7N9 outbreak in Hong Kong was low.

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