H7N9 Bird flu: CDC issues level 2 travel alert for Shandong in China
Dr K K Aggarwal
On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) upgraded its travel advisory for Shandong Province in China from the lowest to the second-highest level in its three-tier alert system. This was in response to confirmation of a new case infected with the H7N9 virus in the area. With this, the number of confirmed H7N9 cases in China has increased to 54.
The same level of alert has also been issued for Zhejiang, Guangdong, Anhui, Hunan, Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Fujian and Shanghai because of the spread of the H7N9 virus in China. CDC also issued a travel watch, its lowest advisory, for other Chinese provinces and cities, excluding Hong Kong and Macau.
Level 1 (Watch) travel advisory of the CDC asks travelers to follow usual precautions for this destination; level 2 (Alert) advisory asks travelers to practice enhanced precautions. The Level 3 (Warning) advises travelers to avoid non essential travel to the affected area.
Under the CDC’s system, urges travelers to follow standard hygiene practices in the affected areas, while a level two advisory urges visitors to take extra preventive measures. When a level three advisory is reached, travelers are advised against visiting the affected area.
Avian influenza A (H7N9) is an influenza (flu) virus found in birds that does not normally infect humans.
Human infections with a new avian influenza A (H7N9) virus were first reported in China in March 2013. Since then, infections in both humans and birds have been observed. Most of these infections are believed to result from exposure to infected poultry or contaminated environments, especially markets where live birds have been sold.
H7N9 does not appear to transmit easily from person to person, and sustained human-to-human transmission has not been reported.