CDC Update in Response to Avian Influenza Detection
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CDC Update in Response to Avian Influenza Detection

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    Wednesday, March 05, 2003, 20:44 EST (08 :44 PM EST)


    Two cases of influenza virus A (H5N1), an influenza subtype usually found in birds, were confirmed in Hong Kong during the week of February 16-21, 2003. In 1997, 18 persons were hospitalized, six of whom died, from an influenza A (H5N1) infection. The primary source of infection in 1997 was contact with infected poultry. Laboratory testing is ongoing to determine the differences and similarities between the 1997 and 2003 H5N1 viruses.

    The people who tested positive for the H5N1 virus became ill while visiting relatives in Fujian Province, China. It is undetermined whether their illness was contracted in their home region in Hong Kong, Fujian Province in which they were visiting, or during travel.

    There is no indication that the influenza A (H5N1) virus has spread outside of Asia and it is unclear whether person-to-person transmission of this virus among persons in Hong Kong or elsewhere in China has taken place. No influenza A (H5N1) isolates have been detected in the United States.

    CDC is in communication with the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding these human cases of H5N1 infection.

    The Hong Kong Department of Health advised its people in the area to avoid direct contact with poultry and birds, and to wash hands with soap and water if contact has been made

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