7-year-old boy, the first to be infected with H9 avian flu

Local | 8 Feb 2020 12:15 am

A seven-year-old boy in Hong Kong has been infected with H9 bird flu, further straining the city's health care system that has already been coping with the outbreak of the fatal coronavirus. 

The Center for Health Protection on Friday confirmed that the boy's nasal swab tested postive for the influenza A (H9) virus, with the subtype pending.

The center said the boy recently returned from Shenzhen in Mainland China after visiting his grandparents there during the incubation period. However, he had no direct poultry contact, consumption of undercooked poultry nor contact with patients. 

The authority also said the boy has underlying illnesses, who developed a cough and runny nose on Tuesday, which turned to a fever on Wednesday. 

The boy first sought treatment at the General Outpatient Clinic at Wang Tau Hom Jockey Club Clinic before being transferred to an isolation ward in Kwong Wah Hospital. 

He was later transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital on Thursday and is currently in stable condition. 

"Investigations are ongoing," the spokesperson for the Department of Health said in a statement. 

"Healthcare workers of Wang Tau Hom Jockey Club General Out-patient Clinic, Kwong Wah Hospital and the ambulance service, as well as related patients in Kwong Wah Hospital, have been put under medical surveillance." 

Under the city’s law, H9 is an infectious influenza that has to be reported to the health authorities. In total, Hong Kong has accumulated a total recorded eight H9N2 infections, the most recent an imported case in 2013.

Being a mild type of avian flu, no local deaths concerning the influenza have been recorded so far. 

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