Hong Kong imported H7N9 avian influenza cases now in double digits
The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (April 13) investigating an imported human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) affecting a woman aged 85.
The patient, with underlying medical conditions, traveled to Dongguan from April 4 to 5 with her husband and younger brother. They lived at their relatives’ home where their relatives have reared chickens. The patient also visited a wet market near their home there and helped in slaughtering chickens at home on April 4. She returned to Hong Kong on April 5, and developed fever, cough with blood-stained sputum and shortness of breath since April 11. She was sent to the Accident and Emergency Department of Tseung Kwan O Hospital (TKOH) by ambulance today and was subsequently admitted. She is currently managed under isolation and her condition is critical.
Her respiratory specimen was positive for avian influenza A(H7N9) virus upon preliminary laboratory testing by the CHP’s Public Health Laboratory Services Branch today. This is the 10th imported human H7N9 avian flu case to date.
Initial investigation revealed that the patient had visited her husband at Haven of Hope Hospital (HHH) on April 10 who was admitted due to other illness. Her husband has remained asymptomatic so far and is currently under observation at HHH.
Apart from her husband, seven other family members of the patient are also considered as close contacts. One of them had sore throat since April 12 and his condition is stable. The other close contacts have remained asymptomatic so far. These close contacts will be admitted to hospital for observation and their respiratory specimens will be taken for preliminary laboratory testing.
The CHP’s investigations and tracing of other contacts are ongoing. The patient’s brother who traveled to Dongguan with the patient, relevant healthcare workers, ambulance staff and patients who had stayed in the same cubicle with the patient’s husband at HHH are being traced for exposure assessment and medical surveillance.