Taipei-- Taiwan said Saturday that it will continue to strengthen its monitoring of migratory birds and animal inspection, as a new case of human infection with the avian influenza A (H7N9) virus has been confirmed.
The patient, a 69-year-old Taiwanese businessman based in China, returned from Guangdong Province in late January and was confirmed Saturday to have an imported infection of H7N9, a subtype of the influenza A virus.
The man, who is from Kaohsiung, was hospitalized on Feb. 1 and is now in an intensive care unit, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It is the first imported case of H7N9 human infection in Taiwan this year and the fifth since 2013, it said.
Health authorities have begun monitoring 108 people who have had contact with the patient, including his colleagues and family members, the CDC said.
Meanwhile, as an outbreak of avian influenza continues in China, Taiwan's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said that it will closely monitor migratory birds and poultry farms.
It said it will tighten animal inspection and quarantine measures at Taiwan's entry ports to prevent people from bringing in birds and related products from China.
The period November to May each year is the peak season for H7N9 infections in China, according to the CDC.
It warned Taiwanese nationals in China and those planning to go there to take proper precautions, pay close attention to personal hygiene and avoid visiting live poultry markets or coming into contact with live birds.
Since October last year, China has reported 261 H7N9 cases, mostly in the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui and Guangdong, the CDC said. The number of confirmed cases since then has been the highest in China since the virus was first found to have infected a human in 2013, it added.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said that although Taiwan twice found the H7N9 virus in the droppings of migratory birds in 2015, that strain of the virus was different from the one now in China.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel