The reports of human cases infected with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus have attracted much public attention. Recently, a death has been reported in an imported case of human avian influenza A(H7N9) where the patient has a history of visit to wet market.
Avian influenza A(H7N9) is a subtype of influenza viruses that have been detected in birds in the past. This particular A(H7N9) virus had not previously been seen in either animals or people until it was found in March 2013 in China. Like other types of avian influenza viruses (e.g. H5N1, H9N2), avian influenza A(H7N9) virus mainly transmits through direct or indirect exposure to infected live or dead animals or contaminated environments. Most of the cases of human infection with this avian H7N9 virus have reported recent exposure to live poultry or potentially contaminated environments, especially markets where live poultry have been sold.
The public should remain vigilant against avian influenza, especially when travelling abroad.
- Do not visit live poultry markets and farms. Avoid contact with poultry, birds or their droppings;
- If contact has been made, thoroughly wash hands with soap;
- Avoid entering areas where poultry may be slaughtered and contact with surfaces which might be contaminated by droppings of poultry or other animals;
- Poultry and eggs should be thoroughly cooked before eating; and
- Wash hands frequently with soap especially before handling food or eating.
For more information on avian influenza and food safety, please visit the designated webpage "Prevention of Avian Influenza".