TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) under the Executive Yuan issued a yellow travel alert on Wednesday for China’s Shaanxi Province after the first confirmed case of H7N9 bird flu was reported.
Shaanxi Province Health Committee said yesterday a 62-year-old male was hospitalized with fever and severe respiratory symptoms in Xianyang City on April 23rd, who was later diagnosed with the H7N9 virus. The patient died on May 1st.
Following the incident, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has raised the travel advisory for the region from “watch” to “alert,” the second-highest warning level on its three-tier warning system.
In addition to Shaanxi province, second-level travel advisories were also issued for China’s Zhejiang, Guangdong, Anhui, Hunan, Shanghai, Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Fujian, Shandong, Hubei, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Liaoning, Henan, Yunnan, Guangxi, Guizhou, Chongqing, Gansu, Tibet, and Jilin.
Human cases of H7N9 avian flu have been increasing in China, with a total of 11 cases reported in 2017 so far. That brings the total of laboratory-confirmed H7N9 human infections to 1,421 since 2013, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
H7N9 is a new strain of avian influenza that is highly pathogenic in poultry and could be deadly for humans.
The MAC has advised people traveling to China to avoid direct contact with poultry and poultry farms, and consume only thoroughly cooked eggs in an effort to avoid infection. Travelers should also exercise good personal and food hygiene, the council added.