Taiwan sees first case of new virus

29 April 2013 09:48

Taiwan increased monitoring of travellers from China after its first case of a new strain of bird flu was confirmed

Taiwan increased monitoring of travellers from China after its first case of a new strain of bird flu was confirmed

Taiwan has increased its monitoring of travellers from China after the island's first case of a deadly new strain of bird flu was confirmed in a 53-year-old man.

The victim fell ill with fever on his return from the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu, twice testing negative for H7N9 but then testing positive after his condition worsened, said the Centres for Disease Control (CDC).

Authorities will increase screening of visitors from China at airports to look for fever and other conditions, said CDC official Chang Feng-yi, and Taiwanese airlines are reported to be suspending provision of chicken and duck meals from China.

An alarming event such as this comes as a sharp reminder to travellers to take proper precautions by having medical travel insurance in place before travelling. There are close trade and economic ties between Taiwan and China, and H7N9 has struck more than 100 people in the latter, most of them close to the east coast around Shanghai. Around a million Taiwanese are estimated to live on the mainland with numerous Taiwanese laptop and other electronics manufacturers operating in Jiangsu. Taiwan plays host to roughly 6,000 tourists daily.

H7N9 seems to spread easier from birds to humans than the virus which killed humans in Asia a decade ago, said the World Health Organisation, and scientists are keeping a close watch to see if it could lead to a world pandemic, though there is not much evidence to show it can spread easily among people.

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