Sun, Feb 21, 2016 - Page 3 News List

CDC raises its travel warning for China’s Shandong Province

BIRD FLU:Shandong has had another H7N9 case, while MOFA has raised its travel alert for Tonga after it reported more than 500 suspected Zika virus cases

Staff writer, with CNA

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Friday raised its travel advisory for China’s Shandong Province after a new H7N9 bird flu case was confirmed there on Thursday.

It is the first such case in Shandong since autumn last year, bringing the total number of confirmed H7N9 cases in China to 54, the CDC said.

In response, the CDC raised its advisory from the lowest to the second-highest level in its three-tier alert system.

Due to the spread of the H7N9 virus in China, the CDC has also issued the same level of alert for the Chinese provinces and municipalities of Zhejiang, Guangdong, Anhui, Hunan, Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Fujian and Shanghai.

The agency also issued a travel watch — its lowest advisory — for other Chinese provinces and cities (excluding Hong Kong and Macau).

Since 2013, 725 H7N9 bird flu cases have been reported in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Canada and Malaysia, among other countries and regions, according to the WHO.

Under the CDC’s system, a level one advisory urges travelers to follow standard hygiene practices in the affected areas, while a level two advisory urges visitors to take extra preventive measures. When a level three advisory is reached, travelers are advised against visiting the affected area.

In related news, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Friday raised its travel alert for Tonga from gray — the lowest alert level — to yellow — the second-lowest on its four-color alert system — after the Pacific island country reported more than 500 suspected Zika virus cases and seven confirmed cases.

The ministry urged Taiwanese who plan to travel to Tonga to reconsider their travel itineraries and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites if a visit to Tonga is necessary, adding that pregnant women and those planning a pregnancy should postpone trips to the country.

The ministry also said that the WHO has warned of a possible outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in Vanuatu in the South Pacific.

The ministry has a gray alert in effect for the South Pacific countries of Fiji and Samoa, as well as the French territories of New Caledonia and French Polynesia.

A yellow travel alert remains in effect for the Solomon Islands after the country reported five confirmed Zika virus cases and seven suspected cases, the ministry said.

In response to the Zika emergency, the CDC has also issued a travel alert for Thailand, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, as well as a travel watch for Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Gabon.

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