Hong Kong health authorities on Saturday urged the public not to panic after the southern
Chinese city reported its first human case of bird flu in 18 months in a two-year-old boy.
Officials said the Chinese boy was in serious condition after testing positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza and the city had raised the bird flu alert level to “serious”.
Hong Kong and Chinese health authorities said investigations revealed that the boy, who lives in the neighbouring province of Guangdong, had visited a local wet market and had contact with a live duck in mid-May.
He later developed a fever and runny nose and was taken for treatment at a Hong Kong private clinic on May 26.
“The boy’s parents are all along asymptomatic, which means the chance of a human-to-human transmission is slim,” a spokesman from the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection said in a statement.
The spokesman said the boy was in intensive care while his parents were being quarantined at the same hospital.
A government spokeswoman confirmed it was the first human case of bird flu in Hong Kong since November 2010, which involved a 59-year-old woman.
China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said Guangdong was on “high alert” but tests has so far found no signs of an outbreak.