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First case of H7N9 in Hong Kong this season

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A 60-year-old man from Suzhou has been hospitalised in February for respiratory illness, announced the Centre for Health Protection yesterday.

According to a report from Hong Kong’s Information Services Department, the man, who was previously in good health, arrived in Hong Kong on February 5. Three days later, he was experiencing chills, cough, fever, rigor, and shortness of breath.

The man had visited a wet market near his home before coming to Hong Kong, but had no contact with poultry.

He was admitted to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital on February 11, and discharged on the 15th after preliminary tests came out negative for influenza A.

Subsequent tests revealed that the man had contracted H7N9. He was then brought to the Hospital Authority Infectious Disease Centre at Princess Margaret Hospital on February 23.

An unusually dangerous virus for humans according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the first case of human H7N9 infection was reported in March 2013 in China. At the end of the year, 46 deaths resulted from the 144 reported infections.

This marks the 14th imported human case of avian influenza A (H7N9) confirmed in Hong Kong. The Centre advises members of the public, particularly those who have been travelling, to be more vigilant this flu season.

Photo from commons.wikimedia.org

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