Heading to Asia? Hong Kong reports first bird flu case in 18 months

by Tolu Orekoya

A 2-year-old child has just been diagnosed with bird flu in Hong Kong, making it the first case seen in the Chinese city in 18 months.

The young child had visited a “wet market” (a fresh food market typical to Asian countries) in the middle of May, came in contact with a duck, and soon came down with typical cold symptoms like a fever and runny nose. He was taken to a private clinic in Hong Kong, and was diagnosed as infected with the H5N1 virus also known as bird or avian flu.

The young boy is undergoing treatment and his parents are currently in quarantine, even though they are yet to show any symptoms of the disease, easing worries of human-to-human transmission of the disease.

Hong Kong was the scene of the first big outbreak of the disease, forcing the culling of millions of birds and the city has had to develop sophisticated methods of tracking illnesses and protecting both the human and bird population.

The city and the neighbouring province (where the child is from) do not have any evidence of a new outbreak, but there are fears as China, Vietnam, and Indonesia have all reported cases of infection this year. The latest fatality reported was in Cambodia, where a 10-year-old girl was reported killed by the disease.

The disease is no stranger to Nigeria, as it was the first African country to record a case of the Avian flu, and in 2008 a new, mutated strain (H5N1, clade 2, EMA3) was also discovered in the country.

Last year a United Nations’ agency, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) had warned that there might be a new global outbreak of the disease. So far, the fears have been unfounded.

Source: Bangkok Post

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