Colds and flu

29 December 2014

Hong Kong confirms first case of deadly bird flu

A woman is critically ill in Hong Kong with the deadly H7N9 strain of bird flu, the first confirmed case in the city this winter, the Hong Kong government said.


The woman, 68, was admitted to hospital this week after falling ill on Dec. 19, the Hong Kong government said in a statement issued on Saturday.

Read: Q&A of bird flu

The case has been classified as "imported" after it emerged the woman had recently been in the Longgang district of Shenzhen in mainland China, where the first human case of the deadly H7N9 strain was reported in March 2013.

Chicken in Shenzhen

The woman ate chicken while in Shenzhen but was not exposed to live poultry, the government said.

The government is trying to track down friends of the woman who may have been exposed to the virus, the source of which had not been determined.

Read: Bird flu has pandemic potential

The first known human case of the H7N9 strain was reported in mainland China in March last year, according to the World Health Organisation.

3 people killed

The virus subsequently spread to Hong Kong last December where it killed three people.

Officials at Hong Kong's Health and Food and Environmental Health Departments were not available for comment.

Read: New bird flu 'lethal'

Hong Kong hospitals have introduced measures to monitor and contain influenza infection, including cutting visitor hours, after the government raised the city's influenza pandemic response level to "serious", it said in a statement late on Saturday.

Read More:

5 British Columbia farms quarantined for bird flu
Egyptian woman dies of bird flu
Bird flu – know the facts

Image: H7N9 bird flu toy blocks from Shutterstock.


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Flu expert

Dr Heidi van Deventer completed her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 2004 at the University of Stellenbosch.
She has additional training in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support) as well as biostatistics and epidemiology.

Dr Van Deventer is currently working as a researcher at the Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre at the University of Stellenbosch.

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