Authorities in Hong Kong have announced the death of an elderly man of bird flu, the first human case of the disease in the city in the current winter season.
The 75-year-old victim was diagnosed with the disease after he returned from a visit to neighboring Guangdong province in mainland China, where he reportedly purchased a chicken at a marketplace, local news outlets reported on Tuesday, citing health officials.
According to a statement by Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection, the old man passed away on Christmas Day at North District Hospital in Sheung Shui, New Territories, after testing positive for the H7N9 strain of bird flu.
The exact cause of his death, however, has not been identified as the victim was known to have suffered from other underlying chronic illnesses. Local press reports said he was initially diagnosed with pneumonia following his admission to the hospital on December 9.
Health authorities placed more than 50 individuals who were in close contact with the victim, including those who lived at his residence as well as health care workers that helped with his treatment, under medical surveillance, according to a report posted on the website of the South China Morning Post.
The local daily said the death was the 17th “imported case” of human bird flu that has so far been confirmed in the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city.
The mainland health officials have reported 783 human cases of H7N9 bird flu since the first major outbreak of the disease there in 2013.