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Outbreak of acute gastroenteritis in primary school under CHP investigation

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (December 12) investigating an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) in a primary school in Sha Tin which affected 20 pupils, and hence appealed to the public and management of institutions to maintain personal and environmental hygiene against AGE.

     The affected pupils, comprising 11 boys and nine girls all aged 5, have presented with vomiting since December 2. Nineteen of them sought medical consultation and none required hospitalisation. All the affected pupils are currently in stable condition.

     Investigations by the CHP are continuing.

     Officers of the CHP have conducted a site visit and provided health advice to the staff of the school concerning proper disinfection, disposal of vomitus, and personal and environmental hygiene. The school has been put under medical surveillance.

     A spokesman for the CHP advised members of the public to take heed of the following preventive measures against AGE:
* Ensure proper personal hygiene;
* Wash hands thoroughly before handling food and eating, and after using the toilet;
* Wear gloves when disposing of vomitus or faeces, and wash hands afterwards;
* Clean and disinfect contaminated areas or items thoroughly with diluted household bleach (by adding one part of household bleach containing 5.25 per cent sodium hypochlorite to 49 parts of water);
* Maintain good indoor ventilation;
* Pay attention to food hygiene;
* Use separate utensils to handle raw and cooked food;
* Avoid food that is not thoroughly cooked;
* Do not try to use salt, vinegar, wine and wasabi to kill bacteria as they are not effective;
* Drink boiled water; and
* Do not patronise unlicensed food premises and food stalls.

     For schools which arrange lunch for pupils, the following should be observed:

* Lunch boxes should be kept in insulated containers, with the temperature maintained above 60 degrees Celsius until the food is consumed. The storage time should be shortened as far as practicable;
* Lunch boxes taken out of insulated containers should be consumed as soon as possible. Further processing after delivery of lunch boxes to the place of consumption should be avoided; and
* Serving of high-risk food items (e.g. cold dishes like sashimi and sushi, or fresh vegetables and fruits that have not been thoroughly washed) to students should be avoided.

     The public may visit the CHP's website ( or call the DH's Health Education Hotline (2833 0111) for more information on AGE.

Ends/Thursday, December 12, 2013
Issued at HKT 15:37


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