HK confirms second bird flu death

A shop owner holding a live chicken for sale in the Wanchai markets of Hong Kong on Dec 30, 2016. Hong Kong has confirmed three human cases of H7N9 in three weeks.
A shop owner holding a live chicken for sale in the Wanchai markets of Hong Kong on Dec 30, 2016. Hong Kong has confirmed three human cases of H7N9 in three weeks.PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG • A 62-year-old man travelling from China died in Hong Kong from bird flu yesterday, the second such death this winter, the Hospital Authority said.

The man, who visited the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in mid-December and was hospitalised in the neighbouring city of Dongguan earlier this week, died from H7N9.

The patient was admitted to hospital in Hong Kong on Wednesday, the authority said. It was not immediately clear how and where he contracted the virus.

He had said that he had not had any recent exposure to poultry or wet markets, according to the Centre for Health Protection.

Hong Kong has confirmed three human cases of H7N9 in three weeks as fears grow over the spread of the disease in South Korea, Japan and China. Different strains of bird flu have also been detected in Europe in recent weeks.

All three patients in Hong Kong had visited southern China. The second case was confirmed last Friday, while the first patient died from H7N9 on Christmas Day.

In mainland China, H7N9 has killed at least four people this season, with the latest death reported in the eastern province of Shandong on Thursday. At least 19 infections have been confirmed.

China saw its last major bird flu outbreak in late 2013 and early 2014, when 36 patients died and the agricultural sector suffered more than US$6 billion (S$8.6 billion) in losses.

In South Korea, more than 30 million birds, most of them egg-laying hens, have been culled because of the country's worst-ever bird flu outbreak, causing a shortage of eggs. Its agricultural ministry said yesterday that South Korea will spend 900 million won (S$1.1 million) to support shipment costs for eggs imported by air and sea through the end of next month.

But egg importers yesterday criticised the plans as insufficient and too late to meet demand during the upcoming Chinese New Year holidays.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2017, with the headline 'HK confirms second bird flu death'. Print Edition | Subscribe