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Human infection caused by the avian influenza A(H7N9)

According to WHO, most cases with H7N9 infections have reported contact with poultry or live animal markets1. However, both the source of infection and the mode of transmission are uncertain2.

The WHO advises that it is prudent to follow basic hygienic practices to prevent infection2.

Advices to trade 3 

  • Live poultry kept on the premises for sale should only come from wholesale markets or other sources approved by the Food and Environmental Hygiene department.
  • The entire wall, floor surfaces and the cages at the premises selling live poultry should be kept clean. They should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected together with other utensils and equipment including the defeathering machine at the end of the business day.
  • Workers should observe personal hygiene such as washing their hands with soap immediately after slaughtering and dressing of poultry. Light coloured protective clothing including aprons and rubber boots should also be worn.

Advices to consumers 3 

  • Avoid touching chickens or their faeces when buying live chickens.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap after handling live poultry, poultry products or eggs. All working surfaces, utensil and equipment should be cleaned after handling the above products.
  • Cook poultry and poultry eggs thoroughly, all part of the poultry meat should reach 70 ° C.

The Centre for Food Safety remains vigilant and will keep an eye on the latest development for deciding on the appropriate corresponding action to safeguard local public and animal health.

Veterinary Public Health Section

Centre for Food Safety

January 2014


    WHO, Influenza at the human-animal interface Summary and assessment as of 4 July 2013 [ Last accessed: 22 Aug 2013]
    WHO, Frequently Asked Questions on human infection caused by the avian influenza A(H7N9) virus update as of 30 April 2013 [ Last accessed: 11 Dec 2013]
    Centre of Food Safety, 82th Food Safety Focus [ Last accessed: 22 Aug 2013]

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Last Revision Date : 27-01-2014