Hong Kong received its first-ever documented case of the H7N9 avian flu yesterday, with an Indonesian domestic worker hospitalized after coming into contact with poultry in Shenzhen. The 36-year-old woman is currently in critical condition and authorities are attempting to determine if she could have spread the virus to others.
Before you start buying canned food by the thousands and retreating into your basement flu-shelter, please remember that this is far from the first time that H7N9 has ‘popped up’ somewhere and that cases are typically (hopefully, dear god) isolated. Nevertheless, the Hong Kong government has amped-up its public health systems, as the Wall Street Journal reports:
The city’s health secretary Ko Wing-man said the government has raised its influenza pandemic response level to “serious” from “alert,” and noted that the city’s Centre for Health Protection is searching for a friend of the domestic worker who traveled with her to Shenzhen. […]
The number of human H7N9 infections had dropped significantly in recent months. As of early November, there were 139 confirmed human cases of H7N9 and 45 deaths reported in China since April, according to the WHO.
The H7N9 flu reached its peak last spring, and has since rescinded from the headlines except for the occasional blip. The Hong Kong case is presumably a blip and not a bombshell, but maybe buying a little bit of tinned food isn’t such a terrible idea.
[Image via Flickr]