Thanks to Mike Coston for sending the link to this news release from the Centre for Health Protection: Third confirmed human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Hong Kong under CHP investigation. The release was issued at 11:07 p.m. local time, which reflects a really well-organized system.
Here's an excerpt from the long, detailed news release; the full release is like a master class in disease-threat communication. Like justice, public health must not only be done; it must be seen to be done.
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (January 8) investigating an additional confirmed human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Hong Kong affecting a man aged 65.
The patient, with underlying medical condition, lives in Sham Shui Po. He presented with fever, coughing and shortness of breath since January 3 and attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Queen Mary Hospital (QMH) on January 7. He was admitted for chest infection. As his condition deteriorated, he was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit on the same day.
His nasopharyngeal aspirate tested positive for avian influenza A(H7N9) virus upon laboratory testing by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP today.
The patient is currently under isolation for further management in QMH in critical condition.
Initial investigation by the CHP revealed that the patient had travelled to Shenzhen with his family member from January 1 to 2. They passed by a wet market in Shenzhen on January 1. In Hong Kong, the patient did not go into wet markets, but he may sometimes walk pass the entrance of Pei Ho Street Market in Sham Shui Po in the morning.
Enquiries also indicated that his close contact has remained asymptomatic so far and will be put under quarantine for 10 days since last contact with the patient. Contact tracing for his other contacts including patients in QMH who stayed in the same cubicle with the confirmed patient as well as healthcare workers in QMH and relevant hospital visitors are underway. They will be put under medical surveillance.
This is the third confirmed human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Hong Kong.
"The Serious Response Level under the Government's Preparedness Plan for Influenza Pandemic has been activated while the CHP's epidemiological investigation and follow-up actions are currently in full swing," a CHP spokesman remarked.
The CHP will issue letters to doctors and hospitals to keep them abreast of the latest situation.
"The confirmed case has been notified to the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) as well as health and quarantine authorities of Guangdong and Macau," the spokesman said.