Wed, Dec 04, 2013 - Page 3 News List

CDC keeps level-two alert for travel to Guangdong

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) travel notice for China’s Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces remains at level-two alert, following a confirmed case of H7N9 infection in Hong Kong that was reportedly acquired in Guangdong.

The case was the sixth reported avian influenza infection in China — including Hong Kong and Macau — since the beginning of this autumn, the agency said yesterday.

Since preliminary evidence indicates the latest case originated in Guangdong, a travel notice has not been issued for Hong Kong, it said.

The notice for Guangdong Province was raised from level-one “watch” to level-one “alert” early last month when a confirmed case of H7N9 was reported in the province.

The travel notice for China’s other provinces, excluding the two special territories, remains at level one, the CDC said.

As of April, 453 cases with suspected H7N9 infection have been reported in Taiwan, of which one was confirmed to be an imported infection, while 2,305 travelers displayed symptoms of possible infection upon arrival in the country, but all were cleared for entry, it said.

The public was urged to remain vigilant about avian influenza because there is still a risk of the virus spreading.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said that the new case traced to Guangdong shows that the disease is probably more widespread than previously thought.

“Since October, there have been two confirmed cases of infection reported from Guangdong, one of which was found in Hong Kong. This has us worried that there might be plenty of H7N9 viruses in Guangdong’s environment. People should be extra cautious when they travel there as the virus might abound more than imagined,” Chou said.

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