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Bird Flu spreads to Hong Kong

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Hong Kong has confirmed the report of bird flu in a human there. The rare H7N9 disease has now spread beyond China’s mainland. Earlier this year China reported several people died there from H7N9, commonly known as the avian or bird flu. H7N9 is an extremely rare form of avian flu.

A 36-year-old Indonesian domestic helper has been confirmed to be the person infected by H7N9 and, according to Reuters, has been hospitalized in critical condition. She purchased a live chicken last month in Shenzhen in mainland China. Hong Kong has elevated the response level to “serious” under its influenza pandemic preparedness plan, reported Bloomberg News.

The South China Morning Post reports that the woman works for a family, all four of whom are exhibiting minor flu like symptoms. The four are in quarantine at Princess Margaret Hospital. The helper is at a different hospital.

There are nine different potential subtypes of H7 viruses (H7N1, H7N2, H7N3, H7N4, H7N5, H7N6, H7N7, H7N8, and H7N9), according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). While there has been 139 confirmed cases as of early November, the World Health Organization (WHO) maintains that there is no evidence of human to human transmissions. This means the virus has not mutated yet.

Safety Tips:

The general public can protect themselves best by avoiding physical contact with poultry, birds or their droppings. Cook thoroughly any poultry and eggs.

Symptoms

The flu like virus could start out with a fever and cough, according to the CDC, The illness in humans may include conjunctivitis and/or upper respiratory tract symptoms. If you have these symptoms see your physician immediately.

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