Hong Kong confirms first human case of H7N9 bird flu (Update)

Hong Kong on Monday confirmed its first human case of the deadly H7N9 bird flu, according to a report, in the latest sign of the virus spreading beyond mainland China.

A 36-year-old Indonesian domestic helper with a history of travelling to the mainland city of Shenzhen and coming into contact with live poultry has been infected and is in critical condition, Health Secretary Ko Wing-man said, according to the broadcaster RTHK.

The patient was admitted to hospital on November 27 after developing a cough and shortness of breath. She was transferred to intensive care at the city's Queen Mary Hospital last Friday, the report added.

In all, 137 human cases of H7N9 have been reported in mainland China since February with 45 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation.

In April Taiwan reported its first case, a 53-year-old man who had been working in eastern China.

The man was eventually discharged but the case prompted the island's authorities to begin research into a vaccine they hope to roll out by late 2014.

Secretary Ko said Hong Kong had suspended the import of live poultry from Shenzhen and escalated the grade of its flu contingency plan to "serious", according to the RTHK report.

People who had come into close contact with the patient recently have also been admitted to another hospital for isolation and testing.

In August, Chinese scientists reported the first likely case of direct person-to-person transmission of H7N9, but stressed that the virus, believed to jump from birds to people, was still inadept at spreading among humans.

The infection comes 10 years after the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak swept through Hong Kong, killing 299 people and infecting around 1,800.

Avian flu viruses have been around for a very long time in wild birds. They do not generally cause disease in humans, though in rare cases they mutate and jump species.

A report by researchers published in The Lancet medical journal in October said closing live poultry markets, though a huge economic setback, is a sure-fire way of curbing H7N9.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hong Kong girl tests negative for H7N9 (Update)

Apr 05, 2013

A seven-year-old Hong Kong girl has tested negative for the H7N9 flu virus, officials said Friday, after she became the city's first suspected case of the disease that has killed six killed on mainland China.

New case of H7N9 bird flu confirmed in China

Aug 11, 2013

A Chinese poultry worker was confirmed as having contracted the deadly H7N9 bird flu virus, health officials said, the first case in the southern Guangdong province.

Taiwan reports H6N1 bird flu case

Jun 21, 2013

Taiwan on Friday reported what it said was the world's first ever human case of the H6N1 strain of bird flu, commonly found in poultry.

Recommended for you

How the world is underestimating Ebola: WHO

7 hours ago

The Ebola epidemic tearing through western Africa is by far the deadliest known outbreak of the disease, yet the magnitude of the spread is believed to be severely underestimated.

Last Ebola-free region of Liberia falls to virus

7 hours ago

Every region of Liberia has now been hit by Ebola, officials said Friday, as the World Health Organization warned the fight against the worst-ever outbreak of the killer disease would take months.

Ebola death toll rises to 1,427: WHO

18 hours ago

The death toll from the Ebola outbreak sweeping through west African countries has risen to 1,427 out of more than 2,600 cases, the World Health Organization said Friday.

User comments