Case of invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b infection under CHP investigation

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (July 29) investigating a case of invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) infection affecting an 11-month-old baby boy, and hence urged the public to maintain good personal hygiene, especially hand hygiene.

     The patient, with good past health, has presented with fever, cough and runny nose since July 18 and was admitted to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital (PYNEH) on July 24 for management. He then developed convulsion yesterday (July 28) and was transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit on the same day for further treatment.

     The clinical diagnosis is meningitis and he is currently in serious condition.

     His cerebrospinal fluid sample tested positive for Hib antigen upon laboratory testing by PYNEH.

     Initial enquiries by the CHP revealed that the baby boy had travelled to Manila with his family on May 4 and returned to Hong Kong on July 20. His home contacts have remained asymptomatic. Investigations are ongoing.

     Invasive Hib infection has been a statutory notifiable infectious disease since July 2008. This is the fourth case this year. Three cases (including one death) and one case were reported in 2013 and 2012 respectively.

     Invasive Hib infection commonly presents clinically as infection of membranes covering the brain (meningitis), often accompanied by bacteria entering the bloodstream. It may also affect other parts of the body, such as the lungs, the upper part of the throat (epiglottis), joints and bones. Prompt antibiotic treatment is necessary.

     "Hib infection can be spread by contact with nose or throat secretions of a patient. If persistent fever, unusual changes in behaviour and deteriorating conditions develop, or in cases of doubt, seek medical attention immediately," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     Members of the public are advised to observe personal hygiene and take heed of the preventive measures below:

* Maintain hand hygiene and clean hands properly;
* Wash hands when they are soiled with respiratory secretions, such as after sneezing or coughing;
* Cover the nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing and dispose of nasal discharge and sputum properly;
* Do not share eating and drinking utensils, and wash them thoroughly after use;
* Avoid going to crowded places if not feeling well; and
* Effective vaccine against Hib is available. For personal protection, seek advice from a health-care professional.

     The public may visit the CHP's invasive Hib page ( for more information.

Ends/Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Issued at HKT 13:19