Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Taking Extreme Avian Flu Precautions

The latest fatalities from H7N9 now total 16 with 77 confirmed cases, all on the mainland -- none yet in Hong Kong.

I had stopped eating chicken in Hong Kong over a week ago but this fear is unfounded. We asked our microbiologist relative if it was OK to eat a chicken infected with avian flu and he said as long it was cooked it was fine.

The only concern is going to a restaurant where someone handles the raw infected chicken and then say washes the dishes or handles other food.

So in Hong Kong we are safe for now...

Tonight another relative told us how China is seriously handling potential cases of H7N9. A few days ago her friend's friend flew back from Shanghai to Hong Kong, but she had a slight temperature of over 38 degrees.

When airport officials did a reading and found she had the temperature they immediately confined her in a room and asked her to fill out lots of forms, detailing where she'd been, what she'd done, if she'd touched any animals, and such. They even took a mug shot of her just in case someone else had the same name as her.

They tried to persuade her not to fly back but to stay behind in a hospital, but she insisted on going home to be treated.

So they complied but not before allowing all the passengers board before her and at the last minute escorting her on the plane and having her sit in the front row -- with no one else. The other passengers didn't dare use the same washroom as her, which made her feel awkwardly special.

When the plane landed in Hong Kong, the flight attendant explained she would be escorted off the plane even though she said she was fine. Ditto with the wheelchair waiting for her.

In the airport she was again sent to a room where she had to fill out many forms again, asking for similar information. They even asked her if she wanted to be admitted to hospital or if they could call her family doctor to inform him of his patient having a slight temperature.

Then in the days following she was called everyday to check up on her and temperature.

So while she expected Hong Kong to take all kinds of precautions, she was surprised but also impressed Shanghai did the same, considering it was a foreigner flying home and not entering the country.

While it seems both Hong Kong and Shanghai are following the same protocols, are they sharing the information? That's the key question. But it is interesting to see the degree to which the mainland is taking this seriously.

On a related side note -- does anyone else find it strange that the cases seem to be popping up in pairs?


  1. Avian flu mania! I'll just stay put for now and wash my hands a lot.

  2. Hi Renee! Yep hand washing with soap helps a lot!

  3. medically speaking i think the officials did what needs to be done. good work.

  4. We will have to see if it really keeps avian flu out...