Travel Alert – China – Avian Flu…

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The U.S. Department of State has issued this latest warning for U.S. Citizens traveling to the country of China.  This information is available to GeoBlue plan members from the GeoBlue website daily…

Avian Flu in China

Category: Health and Medical

Severity: 2 (Low)

Source: World Health Organization

05/23/2014 (China) – On 19 May 2014, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China notified WHO of 4 additional laboratory confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus.
Details of the cases are as follows:

A 66 year-old male from Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province. He had onset of symptoms on 20 April, was admitted to a hospital on 25 April, and is currently in a critical condition. He had a history of exposure to live poultry.
A 86 year-old male from Meizhou City, Guandong Province. He had onset of symptoms on 4 May, was admitted to a hospital on 9 May, and is currently in a critical condition. He had a history of exposure to live poultry.
A 71 year-old male, farmer from Meizhou City, Guandong Province. He had onset of symptoms on 10 May, was admitted to a hospital on 12 May, and is currently in a mild condition. He had a history of exposure to live poultry.
A 37 year-old male from Zhongshan City, Guandong Province. He had onset of symptoms on 12 May, was admitted to a hospital on 13 May, and is currently in a critical condition. He had a history of exposure to live poultry.

The Chinese Government has taken the following surveillance and control measures:

strengthen surveillance and situation analysis;
reinforce case management and treatment; and
conduct risk communication with the public and release information.

Current risk assessment

The overall risk assessment has not changed.

The previous report of avian influenza A(H7N9) virus detection in live poultry exported from mainland China to Hong Kong SAR shows the potential for the virus to spread through movement of live poultry. At this time there is no indication that international spread of avian influenza A(H7N9) has occurred. However as the virus infection does not cause signs of disease in poultry, continued surveillance is needed. Further sporadic human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) infection are expected in affected and possibly neighboring areas.

Should human cases from affected areas travel internationally, their infection may be detected in another country during or after arrival. If this were to occur, community level spread is unlikely as the virus does not have the ability to transmit easily among humans. There has been no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission, therefore the risk of ongoing international spread of H7N9 virus by travelers is low.

WHO advice

WHO advises that travelers to countries with known outbreaks of avian influenza should avoid poultry farms, or contact with animals in live bird markets, or entering areas where poultry may be slaughtered, or contact with any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals. Travelers should also wash their hands often with soap and water. Travelers should follow good food safety and good food hygiene practices.

WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event, nor does it currently recommend any travel or trade restrictions.

As always, a diagnosis of infection with an avian influenza virus should be considered in individuals who develop severe acute respiratory symptoms while traveling or soon after returning from an area where avian influenza is a concern.

WHO encourages countries to continue strengthening influenza surveillance, including surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual patterns, in order to ensure reporting of human infections under the IHR (2005), and continue national health preparedness actions.

Copyright © 2014 World Health Organization

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About Timothy Jennings
Based in beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I have worked in both the Domestic and International markets for most of my adult life. During the past four years the United States has seen a complete change in direction when it comes to accessing health care and obtaining mandated health insurance coverage. I have been an agent selling in the U.S. markets for more than 30 years. Today I work exclusively serving the needs of our International health insurance clients. If you are outbound or inbound to the United States I can help guide you through the process of selecting proper International Cover that is right for your family.

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