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Tuesday, December 20, 2016, 17:10

HK confirms first case of bird flu this season

HK confirms first case of bird flu this season
Officials test poultry at the border with mainland in Hong Kong on April 11, 2013 as authorities step up measures against the spread of the deadly H7N9 bird flu. ( PHILIPPE LOPEZ / AFP)

HONG KONG – A 75-year-old man has been diagnosed with H7N9 influenza, commonly called avian flu, health officials confirmed Monday night.

The man had first shown symptoms during a visit to the mainland.

A spokesman for the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said the World Health Organization and national, Guangdong, and Macau authorities are being notified about the case.

An elderly man who had recently traveled to mainland was diagnosed with the deadly H7N9 virus strain

Further investigation is underway in Hong Kong.

The CHP reported that 10 days after arriving to the mainland, the man visited a hospital in Changping, Dongguan, on Dec 8 complaining of chest discomfort. He returned to Hong Kong the following day and was admitted to North District Hospital. After developing a fever on Dec 17, he was diagnosed with pneumonia and confirmed positive for the H7N9 virus on Monday.

Read more: HK culls thousands of birds after positive test for H7N9

According to CHP, he “denied recent exposure to poultry or wet markets.” He is reported to be in “serious condition and is being kept in isolation.”

His contacts are still being traced. Those he has identified so far have proven asymptomatic but remain under medical surveillance.

In late November, four fecal dropping samples of birds from Mai Po Nature Reserve were detected with H5N6 virus.

The CHP has urged the public to remain vigilant and maintain strict personal hygiene during travel in the upcoming holidays.

"Our risk assessment shows that the activity of avian influenza viruses is expected to increase during the winter, based on their seasonal pattern. If feeling unwell, experiencing fever or cough wear a mask and seek medical advice at once,” the spokesman said.

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