Public Health

H7N9 spreads in China in 'sporadic, unconnected way'

Nurses collect blood samples at a fever clinic at Beijing's Ditan Hospital, where a girl is being treated for H7N9. Photo: AP

The deadly new strain of bird flu has spread further on the mainland, with two people in Henan province confirmed yesterday as infected with H7N9, the first cases in the region.

Monday, 15 April, 2013, 7:01am 1 comment

After Sars, Hong Kong leads the way in fighting infectious diseases

Professor Yuen Kwok-yung. Photo: David Wong

A decade after Sars, Hong Kong has developed a reputation as a world leader in research into emerging infectious diseases.

14 Apr 2013 - 6:58am

Hong Kong should reconsider ban on live poultry stalls

A vendor weighs a live chicken at the Kowloon City Market. Photo: Bloomberg

It was not long ago that banning the sale of live poultry in our markets and moving to a system of central slaughtering was seen as necessary to protect us from deadly infectious diseases. The government finally decided that reduced risk made the idea politically expendable and shelved it. Then-health minister York Chow Yat-ngok said at the time that the decision was not necessarily permanent, as the virus itself and the risk could change.

14 Apr 2013 - 2:15am 1 comment

Seven-year-old girl confirmed as Beijing's first bird flu case

Journalists take pictures and videos of a screen showing the seven-year-old girl officials at Ditan Hospital confirmed as suffering from the H7N9 bird flu strain. Photo: Reuters

A seven-year-old Beijing girl was confirmed as having H7N9 bird flu yesterday - the first time it has been found beyond Shanghai and neighbouring provinces.

14 Apr 2013 - 5:31am

Government should warn against travel to flu-stricken mainland China areas

People wear masks to protect themselves from bird flu on a street. Photo: AFP

Rules and systems are built on core values respected and cherished by most Hongkongers. Unfortunately, judging from the way the government has been handling the issue of travel alerts recently, we seem to have become a city that is more controlled by leaders than guided by a proper system.

12 Apr 2013 - 3:12am 4 comments

Bird flu cure claim sparks rush for herbal root

A nurse taking care of an H7N9-contracted patient in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province. Growing panic over the new strain of bird flu has sparked panic buying of  ban lan gen, a perceived cure. Photo: Xinhua

Amid growing panic over the new strain of bird flu, some mainland officials have prescribed a surprising solution: hot brews of a root called ban lan gen.

11 Apr 2013 - 5:44am

Nanjing orders livestock cull to stem spread of H7N9 virus

Medical workers stage an exercise to prevent human infections of the H7N9 virus in Hefei, Anhui. Photo: Xinhua

Residents of Nanjing, Jiangsu province, are now banned from raising livestock as health authorities yesterday confirmed that five more people have contracted the deadly H7N9 bird flu virus in the Yangtze River Delta.

11 Apr 2013 - 5:31am 2 comments

H7N9 may mutate 8 times faster than regular flu

A doctor looks at lung CT images and chest films of a man infected with H7N9. The new bird flu could be mutating up to eight times faster than an average flu virus. Photo: Xinhua

The new bird flu could be mutating up to eight times faster than an average flu virus around a protein that binds it to humans, a team of research scientists in Shenzhen says.

10 Apr 2013 - 12:24pm

Shanghai considers permanent ban on sale of live poultry

A notice alongside empty cages says the poultry stalls at a Shanghai market are closed. Photo: AFP

Authorities said yesterday the virus had claimed its eighth and ninth victims - an 83-year-old man from Suzhou , Jiangsu , who died a week after testing positive for the virus, and a 35-year-old woman from Chuzhou, Anhui.

10 Apr 2013 - 5:45am 2 comments

Three new cases bring China's H7N9 tally to 21, with 6 dead

A teacher at an elementary school in Jinan, capital of Shandong province, instructs a pupil yesterday on the proper way to wear a mask. The elementary school was offering a class on how to prevent bird flu as health authorities on the mainland took more steps to cope with an increasing number of H7N9 bird flu cases. Photo: Xinhua

The cases in Shanghai were a 59-year-old man from Anhui, who was in serious condition, and a 67-year-old Shanghai native, who was in stable condition. The Anhui case was a 55-year-old man from Haozhou who slaughtered and sold poultry. They bring the national tally of cases to 21, six of them fatal.

8 Apr 2013 - 12:09pm

Chinese flu drug maker's licence revoked after toxins found

Guangzhou Pharmaceutical was responsible for buying the herbs, final production and distribution of the drug. Photo: Lana Wong

Guangdong's drug-safety agency has revoked the licence of a drug maker after it was found to have falsified production records, Xinhua reported.

The provincial Food and Drug Administration cancelled the licence of Baoshantang Pharmaceutical Company because it logged fake data related to the processing of herbal extracts.

8 Apr 2013 - 9:45am

'Intense' farming in China's developed areas blamed in bird flu risk

A chicken farm in Zouping, in east China's Shandong province. Photo: AFP

“Normally, diseases are likely to break out in poor areas. Why is it the other way around in China?” a Global Times editorial said. “In China’s southern and eastern coastal areas, agriculture, especially animal husbandry, has become more intense and populations more dense,” said the English-language edition of the paper, known for its pro-China stance.

29 Aug 2013 - 4:13am

Hong Kong on standby for H7N9 outbreak as China confirms three new cases

China has reported 21 human cases of the H7N9 flu virus, including six deaths. Photo: EPA

The latest three cases in Shanghai and Anhui brought the total number of confirmed H7N9 cases across the nation to 21 - ten in Shanghai, six in Jiangsu, three in Zhejiang and two in Anhui. Four patients in Shanghai and two in Zhejiang have died.

7 Apr 2013 - 11:37pm 4 comments

Nanjing chicken vendors shocked by sudden closure of stalls over bird flu

A vendor with his birds at a poultry market in Nanjing. Photo: Reuters

Chicken traders in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, voiced shock after authorities closed their stalls, without warning or mention of compensation, because of the latest bird flu outbreak.

7 Apr 2013 - 5:44am

Questions fly thick and fast over delay in bird flu report

Workers catch pigeons in People's Square as a precaution against bird flu in Shanghai. Photo: EPA

Memories of the 2002-03 Sars epidemic are deeply embedded in the mainland psyche. While just about everyone learned about severe acute respiratory syndrome, which killed 774 people worldwide, from the news media, they also remember that mainland officials hid the growing toll from the public for weeks before a wave of deaths and rumours forced authorities to reveal the scale of the epidemic.

7 Apr 2013 - 1:42am