Sun, Apr 07, 2013 - Page 1 News List

CDC increases monitoring amid bird flu concerns

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Department of Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta, second left, Centers for Disease Control Director-General Chang Feng-yee, second right and Keelung City Health Bureau Director Wu Zei-cheng, left, visit Keelung Hospital yesterday.

Photo: Taipei Times

Amid fears over the risk of H7N9 avian influenza infection, a Taiwanese man returned from China yesterday showing symptoms of fever at the time of entry into Taiwan and was taken to hospital for examination, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said, adding that test results had cleared the man of H7N9 infection.

The 27-year-old man, returning from China’s Jiangsu Province, developed influenza-like symptoms and was taken from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to hospital for examination, CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said.

The man tested positive for the influenza A (H3N2) virus, the latest CDC report showed.

At a press conference following the Central Epidemic Command Center's second meeting yesterday, Chou first called attention to 35 people who showed signs of fever at ports of entry, of whom 11 had come from China, Hong Kong and Macau.

“Nine people were from non-epidemic areas, while the other two, both Taiwanese nationals, came back from the affected area in China. One of the two, a six-year-old boy, had a fever, but no other influenza-like symptoms, so was not hospitalized,” Chou said.

In terms of suspected domestic cases of the H7N9 virus, eight people were cleared of infection earlier in the week. A further six cases were reported, but all have since tested negative for the virus, although one of them was found to be infected with the H1N1 virus.

Officials from the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications were also present at the meeting yesterday to report on the preventive measures being implemented by the agencies.

BAPHIQ official Chiu Chui-chang (邱垂章) said that since various subtypes of highly pathogenic avian influenza, including the H7N9 virus, exist in China, there is currently a ban on imports of Chinese birds and poultry products.

In terms of monitoring birds, Chiu reported that no H7N9 virus has so far been found in domestic poultry.

“Pigeons, which have been constantly monitored since 2005, have also been cleared of the H5 and H7 viruses,” Chiu added.

The ministry’s senior executive officer Yang Bo-wen (楊博文) said the ministry had asked the 415 travel agencies licensed for inbound tourism from China to be more vigilant about the health of Chinese tourists.

“We have also advised airports, terminals and planes to sanitize regularly to stay disinfected,” he added.

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