Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hong Kong: Experts are Developing Means to Test Poultry for #H7N9

Secretary for Food & Health Dr Ko Wing-man said experts are now trying to develop a means of testing poultry for the deadly H7 avian influenza virus after four more human cases of Influenza A (H7N9) were confirmed on the Mainland yesterday, bringing the total number to seven.

The Government is stepping up surveillance measures, Dr Ko said on a radio show this morning. He added there is no need to raise the Alert Response Level now, but the Government will closely monitor the situation.

He said the situation is worrying as all four newly confirmed human cases in Jiangsu are in critical condition. Two men earlier died of the disease, and another infected woman is also in critical condition.

“This reflects that either the virus is very serious, or the minor cases cannot be recognised by the frontline healthcare staff,” he said.

He said the chance of importing infected chickens is low as all the Mainland poultry farms supplying chickens to Hong Kong are registered. The Government will bolster surveillance measures on imported poultry, local chicken farms, and wholesale and retail markets.

After the radio show, in response to reporters' queries, Dr Ko admitted that the current infrared body-temperature screening at border checkpoints is not 100% correct, but people suspected to have a fever will have their temperature taken by other means.

Dr Ko added that the World Health Organisation has not issued a travel alert, but he reminded people to avoid direct contact with animals, birds or poultry when travelling.

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