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CHP investigates case of severe paediatric influenza A infection
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (January 12) investigating a case of severe paediatric influenza A infection.
     The 10-month-old baby boy, with underlying illness, has presented with fever and cough since December 31, 2016. He was admitted to Kwong Wah Hospital (KWH) on January 5 and was subsequently transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit for further management on January 8.
     His nasopharyngeal aspirate (NPA) collected on January 5 tested positive for parainfluenza virus while the NPA collected on January 8 was positive for parainfluenza virus and influenza A (H3) upon testing by Princess Margaret Hospital. The clinical diagnoses are parainfluenza virus and influenza A infection complicated with pneumonia and septic shock. The patient is now in serious condition.   
     Initial enquiries revealed that the patient had no travel history during the incubation period. His younger twin brother has presented with upper respiratory infection symptoms since January 9 and attended the Accident and Emergency Department of KWH already. He is now in stable condition and no hospitalisation is required. Other home contacts have remained asymptomatic.
     A spokesman for the CHP again urged the public, particularly young children, to get vaccinated promptly for personal protection for the winter influenza season. Children, the elderly and those with chronic diseases are most vulnerable and should promptly seek medical advice if influenza-like symptoms develop.
     The government launched the 2016/17 Vaccination Subsidy Scheme (VSS) and Government Vaccination Programme (GVP) respectively in October and November last year.
     "In addition to children aged from 6 months to under 6 years, the Government has extended the VSS and the GVP this year to cover children aged 6 to under 12. Based on previous epidemiological and clinical experiences, vaccinating schoolchildren can reduce influenza-related complications, hospitalisations and deaths," the spokesman said.
     Apart from children, the VSS and the GVP also cover, amongst other groups, all pregnant women, elderly persons aged 65 or above, community-living persons with intellectual disabilities and persons receiving Disability Allowance.
     As of January 8, about 348 000 doses of seasonal influenza vaccines had been administered under the GVP and about 250 000 under the VSS, i.e. about 598 000 in total, an increase of more than 20 per cent compared to the same period in 2015-16.
     Separately, 51 primary schools have arranged vaccination activities in which around 15 000 pupils have received vaccination.
     "We strongly appeal to eligible groups of both the GVP and the VSS to get vaccinated early as it takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop in the body after vaccination," the spokesman added.
     The public may visit the following CHP pages for more information: the influenza page, the weekly Flu Express report, the vaccination schemes page in general, and those on the GVP and the VSS.
Ends/Thursday, January 12, 2017
Issued at HKT 17:38
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