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Hong Kong Reports First Case Of H7N9 Bird Flu

“Hong Kong has reported its first case of the H7N9 bird flu strain, in a possible sign the virus is spreading beyond mainland China since it first emerged there earlier this year,” the Associated Press reports (12/2). “A 36-year-old Indonesian woman who works as a domestic helper fell ill on November 21, four days after she bought, slaughtered and ate a chicken in mainland China’s Shenzhen City, Food and Health Secretary Ko [Wing-man] said” Monday, the Bangkok Post writes (12/3). The city on Monday “elevated the response level under its influenza pandemic preparedness plan to ‘serious,’ prompting public hospitals to activate a ‘serious response’ alert … and step up infection controls,” according to Bloomberg (Khan/Fellman, 12/3). “Secretary Ko said Hong Kong had suspended the import of live poultry from Shenzhen,” Agence France-Presse adds (12/2). “The case coincides with the 10th anniversary of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which killed nearly 300 people in Hong Kong and had a significant impact on the city’s travel and retail industry,” Reuters notes (Siu/Kwok, 12/2).