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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Avian Influenza in China (Update)

19 Jun 2017

On 16 June the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) reported 5 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in China, including one death between 9 June and 15 June. The 5 patients (4 male, 1 female) came from Beijing, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan and Zhejiang and were aged from 41 to 68 years. Three were known to have contact with to poultry or poultry markets.

Advice to Travellers

During Travel

  • Avoid contact with poultry (chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons, quail) or any wild birds and the settings where they are present e.g. commercial poultry farms, backyard poultry farms and live poultry markets. Also avoid contact with sick or dead poultry and birds. Avoid contact with surfaces that may be contaminated with poultry droppings.
  • One of the most important ways of preventing the spread of infection is careful and frequent hand washing. If soap, clean water and towels are not available, alcohol hand rub can be used.
  • Do not eat uncooked or undercooked poultry or poultry products including food with uncooked poultry blood. All poultry, including eggs must be thoroughly cooked.
  • If unwell with a fever (temperature of 38° C or more), cough, difficulty with breathing, headache, sore throat, sore eyes or muscle aches, promptly seek out medical attention. The British Embassy can assist with contacting medical aid and relatives. Postpone any further travel until well again. 
  • Do not attempt to live bring poultry or poultry products back into the country.

On Return Home

  • To date, no UK traveller has been infected. The risk of infection is increased by prolonged, close and heavy exposure to the virus.
  • Pay attention to health on return home, particularly over the first 7-10 days.
  • If symptoms develop such as those mentioned above or any other flu-like or respiratory illness during this period, individuals should be advised to seek immediate medical attention. Contact the General Practitioner or NHS111 (England) Tel: 111 or NHS 24 (Scotland) Tel: 08454 24 24 24.
  • Before visiting a health-care setting (e.g. health centre or hospital), describe the symptoms and tell the provider that there might have been exposure to avian influenza, giving details of recent travel history.
  • Do not travel whilst unwell and limit contact with others as much as possible to prevent the spread of any infectious illness until assessed by a Doctor.
  • Follow good hygiene practices: cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, use tissues only once, disposing of them promptly and carefully, wash hands frequently.

For further information see Avian Influenza