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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 (July 21) investigating a case of severe paediatric influenza A infection.

     "The local seasonal influenza activity remains at a very high level and it is expected to remain very active in the coming weeks. We strongly urge the public, particularly children, the elderly and chronic disease patients, to adopt strict personal, hand and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel in the summer," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     The 4-year-old boy, with underlying illnesses, has developed fever, increase in sputum, shortness of breath and convulsions since July 19. He was taken to the Accident and Emergency Department of Queen Elizabeth Hospital for medical attention on the same day and was directly admitted to Paediatric Intensive Care Unit for management.

     The clinical diagnosis was influenza A infection complicated with pneumonia, shock and status epilepticus. The patient is now in a serious condition.

     His nasopharyngeal swab tested positive for influenza A virus upon laboratory testing.

     Initial enquiries revealed that the patient had yet to receive seasonal influenza vaccination for the current season and had no travel history in the incubation period. His mother, elder brother and maternal grandparents all previously had mild respiratory tract symptoms and have now recovered. Investigations are ongoing.

     "Hong Kong has entered the summer influenza season since mid-May. The public should wash or clean hands frequently, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes, or after touching public installations such as handrails or door knobs. Wear a mask when respiratory symptoms develop, especially when going to crowded places or attending gatherings. High-risk persons may wear masks against infections," the spokesman said.

     The public should maintain good personal and environmental hygiene against influenza and other respiratory illnesses:
  • Receive seasonal influenza vaccination for personal protection;
  • Wash hands with liquid soap and water properly whenever possibly contaminated;
  • When hands are not visibly soiled, clean them with 70 to 80 per cent alcohol-based handrub as an effective alternative;
  • Wash or clean hands frequently, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes, or after touching public installations such as handrails or door knobs;
  • Cover the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, and wash hands thoroughly afterwards;
  • Dispose of soiled tissue paper properly in a lidded rubbish bin;
  • Put on a surgical mask when respiratory symptoms develop;
  • Maintain good indoor ventilation;
  • When influenza is prevalent, avoid going to crowded or poorly ventilated public places; high-risk individuals may consider putting on surgical masks when staying in such places; and
  • Maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly, take adequate rest, do not smoke and avoid overstress.

     The public may visit the CHP's influenza pageweekly Flu Express report and vaccination schemes page for more information.
Ends/Friday, July 21, 2017
Issued at HKT 18:10
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