Avian influenza H7N9 in China
Updated: February 16, 2017
Travel Health Notice
Human cases of avian influenza H7N9 have been reported in China since 2013, with many cases resulting in serious illness, including pneumonia and in some cases, death.
While most human cases of avian influenza H7N9 have been linked to close contact with infected birds and/or visits to live bird markets, limited cases of person to person transmission have been reported.
Avian influenza H7N9 cases generally follow a seasonal pattern, with most cases reported in the colder months (between October and May), with numbers peaking in December to early January.
Regular updates on the total number of cases and deaths associated with H7N9 in China can be found in the World Health Organization's situation updates – avian influenza.
The Public Health Agency of Canada would like to remind travellers about the risk of avian influenza. Travellers to China should protect themselves by following the recommendations below.
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Avoid high-risk areas such as poultry farms, live animal markets, and areas where poultry may be slaughtered.
Avoid contact with birds (alive or dead), including chickens, ducks and wild birds.
Avoid surfaces with bird droppings or secretions on them.
Make sure that all poultry dishes, including eggs, are well cooked.
Wash your hands frequently:
- Wash your hands with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds
- Wash your hands as often as possible.
- Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizer and use it for washing, if soap and water are not available.
Practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette:
- Cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs.
- If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards.
Monitor your health:
- Seek medical attention if you have any of these symptoms within 14 days of your return to Canada:
- Cough and/or shortness of breath.
- Call your health care provider or urgent care facility and advise them of:
- Your symptoms
- Where you have travelled or lived; and,
- If you have had direct contact with birds (for example: visited a live poultry market) or close contact with a sick person.
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