December 3, 2013
HONG KONGAn Indonesian woman here is said to have contracted an influenza virus that normally circulates among birds, a development that is worrisome to the city given the potential deadly consequences of the bug.
The 36-year-old maid who purchased and ate a chicken in Shenzhen has contracted Hong Kong's first case of H7N9 avian flu and is in critical condition in a hospital, CNN reported, citing a statement from a Hong Kong health official Ko Wing-man.
As of Nov. 5, 139 cases of Influenza A (H7N9) including 45 deaths had been reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). China's National Health and Family Planning Commission reported all but 1 of the cases. That single case originated from the Taipei Centers for Disease Control.
According to Ko in the CNN article, Hong Kong raised its level of preparedness for an influenza pandemic to "serious".
WHO is not aware of the virus being transmitted between humans, and until recently it had not been detected in people. "The source and mode of transmission remain unknown," WHO states in the Nov. 5 update, "but increasing evidence is pointing to poultry exposure."
H7N9 has impacted the young and old, from a 3-year-old boy from Guangdong Province to a 64-year-old female farmer from Zhejiang Province who was in critical condition as of early last month. The WHO has reported the onset of cases as early as February 2013, and at least some victims died just a few days after their illnesses began, according to a chart from the agency.
On Monday, the news agency Xinhua announced Shanghai would suspend poultry trading from Jan. 31 until April 30 to prevent a recurrence of bird flu.
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