Mon, Jul 22, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Center issues Hebei travel alert

DANGER SIGNS:A woman from Hebei Province is in critical condition with H7N9 influenza and Taiwanese have been advised to exercise caution in the rest of China

By Alison Hsiao and Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporters

The Central Epidemic Command Center has been notified by the WHO of a new confirmed case of H7N9 avian influenza in Hebei Province, China, and issued travel alert for the province early yesterday.

After no new infections for weeks, a case was reported by Chinese authorities on Saturday, which is also the first reported H7N9 infection in Hebei, the center said.

The patient is a 61-year-old woman who developed symptoms of fever and cough on Thursday and was later sent to a hospital in Beijing after her condition deteriorated. She remains in critical condition.

An alert, which urges travelers to take enhanced precautions, has been issued by the command center for Hebei, while all other provinces and cities in China (Hong Kong and Macau not included), remain on a travel notice of “Watch” level one.

Including the latest case, there have been 133 confirmed cases of H7N9 influenza in China since the outbreak began, of which 43 were fatal, a fatality rate of 32 percent, the center said.

In Taiwan, a total of 435 possible cases with suspicious symptoms have been reported since April 3, of which only one person tested positive for the H7N9 avian flu virus and has since recovered.

Of the 434 cases found to be clear of H7N9 infection, 55 tested positive for influenza A (H1N1), 39 for H3N2 and six for influenza B, the center reported.

The center said the public should remain vigilant against bird flu, pointing out that the latest case is the first since the end of May, which indicates that the H7N9 influenza virus continues to lurk in the environment and pose a potential threat.

Meanwhile, the Council of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said it has continuously monitored the virus in local poultry, and so far no cases have been found.

In addition, increased on-site visits at poultry farms to advise on disinfection and prevention practices have been conducted, and a ban on the slaughtering of live poultry in traditional markets was also enforced on May 17 to reduce the chances of any spread of the virus, it added.

Of 25,613 cases of active monitoring, 16,242 cases of on-site inspections and 23 cases reported for monitoring, no H7N9 avian influenza virus had been detected, the bureau said.

While Taiwan is still listed as an area with no cases of H7N9 avian influenza infections in animals, the bureau said it still strongly advises workers in related industries to take extra caution to prevent against the disease, such as access control of personnel and vehicles at the farms, disinfection, and reporting any suspected cases as soon as possible.

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