HONG KONG, Dec. 30 (Xinhuanet) -- The Hong Kong government is to step up a
surveillance mechanism for influenza by gazetting the addition of influenzas A
(H7) and (H9) to the list of infectious diseases specified in the First Schedule
to the Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance.
The legislative amendment, which will take effect upon its publication in
the gazette on Friday, is made in view of the rapidly evolving global situation
with avian influenza, according to the Department of Health of the government.
The World Health Organization held an influenza pandemic consultation
meeting earlier this month, which noted human infections with influenza A (H5),
A (H7), and A (H9) have been occurring more frequently in recent years.
The department's spokesman said strengthening surveillance of influenza A
(H7) and (H9) in Hong Kong is in line with local and global public health needs,
adding influenza A (H5) has been included in the list of statutorily notifiable
diseases since Jan.30 2004.
The move will enhance the coverage of the infectious diseases surveillance
system, enabling more effective and early detection and the implementation of
appropriate public health control measures when necessary, the spokesman said.
Under the ordinance's Prevention of the Spread of Infectious Diseases regulations,
medical practitioners are required to notify the Director of Health
if they have reason to suspect the existence of any infectious diseases listed
in the First Schedule to the Ordinance. A total of 30 infectious diseases are
included in the schedule, he said.
The Center for Health Protection is sending letters to individual
doctors informing them of the amendment.