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June 26, 2017

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Taiwan lifts yellow travel alert for Guangdong

TAIPEI--Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC, 陸委會) withdrew a yellow travel advisory for Guangdong Province in southern China Wednesday, after health authorities lowered an H7N9 epidemic alert for that area.

In a statement, the council said there have been no new cases of the deadly avian influenza virus in Guangdong over the past month.

As a result, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, 疾病管制署) on Tuesday lowered its H7N9 "alert" to an epidemic "watch" for the Chinese province, the lowest level on the CDC's three-tier warning system, the MAC said.

Following the CDC's move, the MAC lifted its yellow travel alert for Guangdong but retained it for Hunan and Zhejiang provinces.

Reminding the public that the H7N9 virus is still circulating, the MAC advised travelers to China to pay attention to their health and wash their hands frequently.

It also advised against touching or feeding live birds, picking up dead birds or eating undercooked poultry products.

In the event that symptoms such as a fever or cough develop, the affected person should immediately don a mask and seek medical attention, the council added.

Avian influenza A (H7N9) is a subtype of influenza viruses that have been detected in birds in the past but had not been seen in either animals or humans until March 2013 in China, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

As of June 23, there were 450 confirmed cases of H7N9 infection worldwide, including 10 in Hong Kong and four imported cases in Taiwan, the CDC said in its latest update.

The number of H7N9 deaths worldwide as of June 19 was 158, it said, citing WHO data.

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