Saturday, May 4, 2013

Travel notice issued for Middle East

By Alison Hsiao
Sat, May 04, 2013 
As the H7N9 avian influenza outbreak in China seems to show signs of slowing down and the first confirmed patient in Taiwan is recovering, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a Level 1 (“Watch”) travel notice for 14 Middle Eastern countries, as seven novel coronavirus infections have been recently reported in the area.
On the developments surrounding the H7N9 virus, CDC deputy director Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) told a press conference yesterday that he agrees with the comment made by an expert earlier this week saying that the activity of H7N9 virus might be contained in the summer due to high temperatures, as occured with many other avian influenza viruses.
“Also, China has closed down a lot of live poultry markets. This probably also helped to contain the spread a great deal,” Chou said.
However, he said that the research work on the vaccine development will continue as scheduled.
The patient with the first imported case of H7N9 flu is said to be recovering.
National Taiwan University Hospital deputy superintendent Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said earlier yesterday that the patient infected with the H7N9 bird flu virus “is getting better,” adding that the ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) support system has been removed from the patient.
Meanwhile, the CDC reported that it had been notified by the WHO that Saudi Arabia’s health ministry has reported seven confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection, five of which were fatal and two in critical condition.
The new cases raise the global count of novel coronavirus infections to 24, with 16 deaths.
In the wake of the outbreak, the CDC issued a Level 1 travel notice, which advises travelers to follow usual precautions, for 14 countries in the Middle East — Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

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