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CDC expands H7N9 travel alert to Shandong Province

TAIPEI--Taiwan has expanded a travel alert for the H7N9 avian influenza to China's Shandong Province, where a human case was recently confirmed, the Mainland Affairs Council said Saturday.

Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) elevated the travel advisory for Shandong from “watch” to the second highest level of “alert” in its three-level system a day earlier, following the confirmation of a human case earlier in the week, the council said.

Besides Shandong, there are seven other Chinese provinces currently listed under “alert” — Hunan, Anhui, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Jiangxi, Sichuan and Jilin.

The rest of China, excluding Hong Kong and Macau, is listed as “watch,” according to the council.

The council urged the public to exercise caution when traveling to China, and to avoid contact with birds.

As of May 19, a total of 445 cases of human infection with the H7N9 virus had been confirmed, including 156 deaths, since the first case was reported in 2013, according to the CDC.

Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia are the only places outside China that have reported H7N9 human cases, all of which were imported, the CDC noted.

Taiwan has reported four H7N9 human cases so far, including the latest two, which were confirmed in late April, according to the CDC.

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