TAIPEI, Taiwan – Specimens from a 4-year-old Chinese tourist who developed a fever in the eastern county of Hualien were delivered for testing for H7N9 avian influenza Sunday, health officials said that day.
Chung Mei-chu, a secretary in the county’s Health Bureau, said the child, who arrived in Taiwan April 12 with his parents as independent tourists, was taken to the Mennonite Christian Hospital’s emergency room after developing a fever.
Chung said the hospital activated its emergency disease prevention mechanism after the medical staff heard the family was from China’s eastern coastal province of Zhejiang, where 11 cases of H7N9 have been reported, including two deaths.
The emergency room was temporarily closed to prevent other patients from coming into close contact with the child, she said, adding that the ER was later reopened after the child was referred to a fever-screening station in the hospital.
Specimens from the child were collected and delivered to the Department of Health lab in Taipei for testing. If the tests are positive for the H7N9 virus, he will become the first confirmed case of H7N9 in Taiwan.
As of that afternoon, China had confirmed 51 cases of human H7N9 infections, with 11 fatalities.