There has been a sharp rise in the number of human infections with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus in China. Six additional cases were reported to WHO on 27 January 2014.The recent upsurge is thought to be in connection with the approach of the Lunar New Year which begins on 31 January 2014.
In preparation for the holiday, the demand for poultry increases and poultry is more likely to be slaughtered and prepared in the home. The movement of the population and of poultry to other parts of the country is also more common during the celebrations.
Health Protection Scotland would like to raise awareness and remind UK travellers planning to visit China of the risk of avian influenza from poultry and the steps to take to reduce transmission of the virus.
To date, a total of 256 laboratory confirmed human cases have been reported (including 56 fatalities) since March 2013. Cases have occurred in several provinces and municipalities of China, including Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Advice for Travellers
Travellers experiencing severe flu like symptoms within 10 days of returning from China, should contact their GP and inform them of their recent travel to China.