Tuesday, January 28, 2014

UPDATE: A Poultry Inspector May Have Infected Hong Kong's Wholesale Market With H7N9

Hong Kong has just slaughtered 16,984 chickens; 2,898 silky fowls; 1,080 pheasants; and 1,642 pigeons because some of the Chickens were shedding the H7N9 virus as detected by a PCR test. Because of that positive test, the authorities tracked down all the people logistically involved with these chickens.

"In collaboration with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, as of 4pm today, a total of 95 other contacts comprising 11 staff members of Man Kam To Animal Inspection Station (MKTAIS), 35 poultry workers at Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Poultry Market and 49 workers involved in the culling operation have also been identified. They were put under medical surveillance and health advice was given. The CHP will follow-up on their health condition."
Among these people , 1 MKTAIS officer has/had developed unspecified symptoms; its reported he tested negative. Where as a delivery driver who is ASYMPTOMATIC is being held in isolation at Princess Margret Hospital. He had a respiratory specimen tested with a H7N9 RAPID Test, which has shown negative 

So why hold the guy with no symptoms in isolation while the guy with symptoms goes free? The best guess is the guy with symptoms had them prior to the discovery that the chickens were infected.  Of course this begs the question, could he or any other of the 95 people involved infected the chickens?

One would think that the Hong Kong authorities would have pretested the workers for H7N9 EXPOSURE prior to starting this upgraded round of poultry testing; if they have, its not being reported. Certainly an inspector would be in prime position to be a source of the infection, as well as a victim of such an infection.
Odds are that all 95 people are already on Antivirals and as such we may never know the timeline.

At the current time pressures are on to keep the public calm, and part of that effort seems to be to only promote information that points away from human transmissibility. The data points to Human to Human transmission, as we have previously explained (see video below).

 While the Chinese seem to be more forth coming with truthful information these days, it may be wise to consider that it may not be the whole truth;  nor may it be nothing but the truth. The desire to keep the public calm may include avoiding investigating things that point away from desired outcomes.


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