Emergencies preparedness, response

Influenza A(H5N1) in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China - Update

20 February 2003

Disease Outbreak Reported

As of 20 February the Department of Health in Hong Kong SAR confirmed that a 33-year-old man, who died in hospital in Hong Kong on February 17, had been infected with a strain of the influenza A(H5N1) virus. ( see previous report ). A nasopharyngeal aspirate taken from the man tested positive for influenza A(H5N1) in the Hong Kong SAR Government Virus Unit.

The 33-year-old man is the second confirmed case of influenza A(H5N1) virus related to this outbreak in Hong Kong SAR. The man is known to have been the father of the 9-year-old boy reported as having tested positive for influenza A(H5N1) yesterday. Both cases had travelled to Fujian Province (China) in January. Two other members of the family who accompanied the cases to Fujian in January have also been unwell. The mother of the family has now made a full recovery; the other affected member of the family (an 8-year-old girl) has died on February 4 in Fujian Province. The health authorities in Hong Kong SAR are continuing laboratory and epidemiological investigations to determine the source of infection of this outbreak. Further laboratory tests, including gene sequencing, are being conducted. The Department of Health in Hong Kong has reported that no unusual increase in influenza activity has been detected over the past few weeks.

The World Health Organization is in close contact with the health authorities in Beijing, China and in Hong Kong, SAR. The WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network has been alerted and additional reagents for laboratory diagnosis are being made available to National Influenza Centres and other Members of the Global Influenza Surveillance Network.