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November 19, 2010

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

City infection fears allayed

SHANGHAI residents who were in contact with a woman from Hong Kong who was diagnosed with bird flu earlier this week, have been given a clean bill of health by the health authorities.

A 59-year-old woman was diagnosed with Influenza A (H5), a variant of bird flu, in Hong Kong on Wednesday. She traveled to Shanghai with her husband and daughter on October 23 and stayed a week.

But as the disease has an incubation period of 7-10 days, anyone who could have contracted it from the woman would be showing symptoms by now, said Xu Jian'guang, director of Shanghai Health Bureau.

Authorities tracked down and monitored everyone who had been in close contact with the woman.

None of this group, which included her son and daughter-in-law who live in the city, and staff at the hotel where the woman stayed, showed symptoms, Shanghai Health Bureau said yesterday.

The bureau said the city has stepped up monitoring for cases of bird flu. None have been detected.

Experts said bird flu virus does not usually pass between humans, and that people should not be unduly concerned.

Health authorities began their epidemiological investigation soon after learning of the case on Wednesday night and tracked down everyone in close contact with the woman while she was in Shanghai.

She returned to Hong Kong on November 1 and started to develop flu symptoms the next day.

Shanghai health staff also conducted checks on stallholders at wet markets near where the woman stayed.

This week, Shanghai stepped up routine prevention and control of respiratory infectious diseases, such as SARS, human's bird flu and swine flu.

The city has set up 52 monitoring spots, including nine on poultry farms where workers are tested.

Local schools are also required to report students' sick leave to the authorities' monitoring program.

"From current data, flu levels are stable and at a low level in the city," said Yuan Zheng'an, vice director of Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention.


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