Wednesday, January 8, 2014

TRAVEL ALERT: KOWLOON, HK: Indication of Human H7N9 Bird Flu Outbreak

We suspect Human to Human H7N9 Bird Flu transmission is occurring in Kowloon Hong Kong, with school age children being the primary vector of exposure.

On January 6th the Hong Kong authorities shut down a special needs school in the Sham Shui Po district in Kowloon because of an unsubtyped influenza outbreak and death. This outbreak occurred despite indications that the school requires FLU vaccination as a condition of attendance.

On January 7th the Hong Kong authorities confirmed that an 65 year old male resident of the Sham Shui Po district had H7N9 Bird Flu. The man had no direct contact with poultry, he also has a underlying chronic medical condition. It is reported that the victim "may sometimes walk pass the entrance of Pei Ho Street Market in Sham Shui Po in the morning".

With that information in mind we mapped the distance between the school and the 67 year old male's residence (as indicated by his morning walk). The newest H7N9 victim lives within one mile of the location of the Chi Yun School unsubtyped influenza cluster (see map below).

Given the current conditions and what occurred in Kowloon between December and January, we believe it is abundantly wise to avoid travel to Kowloon, Hong Kong.

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