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Hong Kong Government reports three human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6)

by Sarah Mikesell
30 July 2021, at 1:36am

The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health recently reported three human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) in the Mainland and urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

According to a news report release by the Hong Kong government, the first case involved a 51-year-old woman living in Xuanhan in Sichuan Province, who had contact with live domestic poultry before the onset of symptoms. She developed symptoms on June 25, and was admitted for treatment on July 2. The patient passed away on July 4.

The second case involved a 57-year-old man living in Kaijiang in Sichuan Province, who had contact with live domestic poultry before onset. He developed symptoms on June 22, and was admitted for treatment on July 5. The patient is in critical condition.

The third case involved a 66-year-old man living in Tongnan in Chongqing Municipality, who had contact with live domestic poultry before onset. He developed symptoms on June 23, and was admitted for treatment on June 30. The patient is in critical condition.

From 2014 to date, 35 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) have been reported by Mainland health authorities.

"All novel influenza A infections, including H5N6, are notifiable infectious diseases in Hong Kong," a spokesman for the CHP said.

While local surveillance, prevention and control measures are in place, the CHP said it will remain vigilant and work closely with the World Health Organization and relevant health authorities to monitor the latest developments.

The government urges the public to maintain strict personal, hand, food and environmental hygiene and take heed of the advice below when handling poultry:

  • Avoid touching poultry, birds, animals or their droppings;
  • When buying live chickens, do not touch them and their droppings. Do not blow at their bottoms. Wash eggs with detergent if soiled with faecal matter and cook and consume the eggs immediately. Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling chickens and eggs;
  • Eggs should be cooked well until the white and yolk become firm. Do not eat raw eggs or dip cooked food into any sauce with raw eggs. Poultry should be cooked thoroughly. If there is pinkish juice running from the cooked poultry or the middle part of its bone is still red, the poultry should be cooked again until fully done;
  • Wash hands frequently, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes, before handling food or eating, and after going to the toilet, touching public installations or equipment such as escalator handrails, elevator control panels or door knobs, or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing; and
  • Wear a mask if fever or respiratory symptoms develop, when going to a hospital or clinic, or while taking care of patients with fever or respiratory symptoms.

Sarah Mikesell