Taiwanese businessman in China infected with H7N9

01/12/2016 08:48 PM
Taipei Songshan Airport.
Taipei Songshan Airport.

Taipei, Jan. 12 (CNA) A Taiwanese businessman in China has been infected with H7N9 avian influenza virus, the third such case among that group of people, Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed Tuesday.

The CDC said it had contacted Chinese health authorities to confirm the case, based on information received from the man's son.

The businessman's son alerted quarantine officials in Taiwan of the possible case after visiting his father in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, earlier this month, according to CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩).

Chou said it was son's second visit following one in December. On Jan. 5, the son was alerted that his father was seriously ill and went to China again but was unable to make contact because his father was in an intensive care unit in hospital, the CDC said.

The father, son, other family members and friends were tested in China on Jan. 5 and the son tested negative, while the father tested positive for the H7N9 virus, the CDC said, adding that the results became available Monday.

When the 26-year-old son returned to Taipei Songshan Airport on Jan. 8, his temperature was normal and he showed no signs of illness but he took the initiative to alert quarantine officials that he might have had contact with suspected H7N9 patients.

Quarantine officials decided that the risks of the man being infected with the avian flu virus were not high and they offered him health advice and suggested that he conduct health management at home.

The CDC, however, contacted its counterpart in China the same night to check whether the father was infected with the virus.

"The CDC wished to thank the man who was alert enough to inform us upon his return of his possible contact with the virus," Chou said.

He said the CDC will keep track of the health situation of the man and his father.

If necessary, he said, the CDC will send doctors to Kunshan to obtain information about the treatment of the businessman there and provide health advice to other Taiwanese in the area.

There have been 23 confirmed H7N9 cases in China since autumn 2015 -- 14 cases in Zhejiang province, three each in Guangdong and Jiangsu provinces, two in Shanghai, and one in Jiangxi. Most of the patients were over 50 years old and had been exposed to birds or poultry.

Since 2013, 700 cases of H7N9 have been reported worldwide -- 680 in China, 13 in Hong Kong, four in Taiwan (all imported), two in Canada and one in Malaysia.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Lilian Wu)


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