DOH: Philippines still bird flu free
by FFE PH News staff
Following the first human case of the A (H7N9) bird flu in Hong Kong last Monday 2 Dec 2013, the Philippines has maintained the ban on poultry imports from China as precautionary measure against the deadly flu.
Airports in the Philippines have been screening inbound travellers for fever for early isolation but presently, the Department of Health (DOH) does not recommend a travel ban to Hong Kong or China.
There are 141 cases of the flu with 47 deaths worldwide since April to early November this year. The DOH said the Philippines is still bird flu free.
Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The deaths were due to severe pneumonia with multiple organ failure. Two-thirds of all recorded cases were male and two-thirds were more than 50 years old. The World Health Organization (WHO) said however that information about the full spectrum of illness that the A (H7N9) flu might cause is still limited.
WHO added that it is still unknown how one becomes infected by the flu but some of the confirmed cases had contact with animals or with places where animals are housed. The 36-year-old Indonesian helper that contracted the first human case in Hong Kong had come from Shenzhen where she bought, butchered and ate a chicken shortly before she became ill.
The influenza viruses are not transmitted through consuming well-cooked food thus it is safe to eat properly cooked meat, including poultry and game birds, WHO assured. The consumption of raw meat and uncooked blood-based dishes in areas experiencing outbreaks however is discouraged by the UN health agency.
The DOH recommends frequent hand washing, covering of nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and wearing face mask if needed to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.