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CHP investigates case of severe paediatric influenza B infection
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (January 7) investigating a case of severe paediatric influenza B infection.

     The 3-year-old girl, with good past health, has developed fever, cough with sputum, runny nose and sore throat since January 5. The patient was found unresponsive with cyanosis yesterday (January 6) and subsequently sent to the Accident and Emergency Department of United Christian Hospital where she was admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit for treatment on the same day.
     The clinical diagnosis was encephalopathy. The patient is now in a critical condition. Her nasopharyngeal aspirate tested positive for influenza B virus upon laboratory testing.
     Initial enquiries revealed that the patient had yet to receive seasonal influenza vaccination for the current season and had no recent travel history. Her father had upper respiratory tract infection symptoms recently but her other home contacts are asymptomatic so far. Investigations are ongoing.
     "Our latest surveillance data show that the local seasonal influenza activity steadily increased from a baseline level. We anticipate that the seasonal influenza activity will continue to increase and the winter influenza season in Hong Kong will arrive soon. Members of the public should maintain good personal protection against influenza," a spokesman for the CHP said.
     "Particularly, children, the elderly and those with underlying illnesses are urged to get vaccinated as early as possible to prevent seasonal influenza as it takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop in the body after vaccination. They should promptly seek medical advice if influenza-like symptoms develop so that appropriate treatment can be initiated as early as possible to prevent potential complications. Parents and carers are reminded to render assistance in prevention, care and control for vulnerable people," the spokesman added.
     Besides receiving seasonal influenza vaccination as early as possible for personal protection, the public should maintain good personal and environmental hygiene for protection against influenza and other respiratory illnesses:
  • 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;
  • 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 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/Sunday, January 7, 2018
Issued at HKT 16:43
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