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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Avian Influenza (China) (Egypt) (Update)

24 Mar 2017

On the 21 March 2017 the Hong Kong Centre for Health ProtectionLink issued an Avian Influenza report which advised that as of 18 March 2017:

  • Since March 2013 there has been a total of 1329 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) reported globally.
  • Since October 2016, 523 cases have been recorded in Mainland China.
  • Since 2014, 16 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) have been reported globally and all occurred in Mainland China. The latest case of avian influenza A(H5N6) was reported on 1 December 2016.
  • There have been no new human cases of avian influenza A(H5N1) reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2017. From 2011 to 2015, 32 to 145 confirmed human cases of avian influenza A(H5N1) were reported to WHO annually (according to onset date). In 2016, there were 10 cases in Egypt.

Advice for Travellers

During Travel

  • Avoid contact with poultry (chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons, quail) or any wild birds and the settings where they are present e.g. commercial poultry farms, backyard poultry farms and live poultry markets. Also avoid contact with sick or dead poultry and birds. Avoid contact with surfaces that may be contaminated with poultry droppings.
  • One of the most important ways of preventing the spread of infection is careful and frequent hand washing. If soap, clean water and towels are not available, alcohol hand rub can be used.
  • Do not eat uncooked or undercooked poultry or poultry products including food with uncooked poultry blood. All poultry, including eggs must be thoroughly cooked.
  • If unwell with a fever (temperature of 38° C or more), cough, difficulty with breathing, headache, sore throat, sore eyes or muscle aches, promptly seek out medical attention. The British Embassy can assist with contacting medical aid and relatives. Postpone any further travel until well again. 
  • Do not attempt to live bring poultry or poultry products back into the country.

On Return Home

  • To date, no UK traveller has been infected. The risk of infection is increased by prolonged, close and heavy exposure to the virus.
  • Pay attention to health on return home, particularly over the first 7-10 days.
  • If symptoms develop such as those mentioned above or any other flu-like or respiratory illness during this period, individuals should be advised to seek immediate medical attention. Contact the General Practitioner or NHS111 (England) Tel: 111 or NHS 24 (Scotland) Tel: 08454 24 24 24.
  • Before visiting a health-care setting (e.g. health centre or hospital), describe the symptoms and tell the provider that there might have been exposure to avian influenza, giving details of recent travel history.
  • Do not travel whilst unwell and limit contact with others as much as possible to prevent the spread of any infectious illness until assessed by a Doctor.
  • Follow good hygiene practices: cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, use tissues only once, disposing of them promptly and carefully, wash hands frequently.