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Fourteen new cases of human swine influenza

     A spokesman for the Department of Health (DH) today (June 11) said DH is investigating 14 newly confirmed cases of human swine influenza (Influenza A H1N1). Three of them are imported cases.

     This brings to 63 the total number of human swine influenza (HSI) cases in Hong Kong.

     Among the 14 cases, 11 came from the same class of the 16-year-old girl of St. Paul¡¦s Convent School who was confirmed to have infected with HSI on June 10.

     Ten of the girls developed respiratory symptoms since June 6 while another developed diarrhoea on June 10. They were taken to public hospitals for isolation yesterday. Laboratory analysis on their respiratory samples yielded positive results for HSI today.

     Meanwhile, the mother and the brother of the 16-year-old girl, as well as one student from the same class and one student from another class with respiratory symptoms were tested negative to HSI.

     DH's investigation showed that all students from the same class did not have recent travel history nor contacted people with respiratory symptoms from affected areas. Also, none of the teachers had travelled outside Hong Kong nor developed respiratory symptoms.

     The first imported case involved a 43-year-old man who travelled to Europe since May 30.

     He had onset of sore throat and joint pain on June 6, and fever and malaise on June 7. The symptoms subsided one day before boarding the plane to Hong Kong.

     He returned to Hong Kong from London by taking a flight of British Airways (flight no. BA25) on June 10. He sat in row 36 and wore a face mask on the flight.  

     He presented to Yan Chai Hospital at about midnight and was admitted for isolation.

     The second imported case involved a 16-year-old girl living in San Francisco. She developed sore throat on June 6 and did not seek medical advice.

     The girl, accompanied by her parents, arrived in Hong Kong by taking a flight of Singapore Airlines (flight no. SQ1) on June 11. She sat on row 49 and put on a face mask on the flight.

     She could not pass the temperature screening and was taken to Queen Mary Hospital by ambulance for isolation.

     Her parents are asymptomatic.

     The third imported case involved a 20-year-old woman studying in Switzerland. She returned Hong Kong from Zurich by taking a flight of Swiss International Air Lines (flight no. LX138) on June 7. She sat on row 23, next to a 19-year-old man who was confirmed to have infected with HSI on June 8. She wore a face mask during the journey.

     She developed sore throat and cough on June 9 and was admitted to Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital the next day.

     Laboratory analysis on respiratory samples taken from the three patients yielded positive results for HSI today.

     Investigations into these cases are ongoing.

     DH is now tracing passengers sitting in rows 33-36 of BA25 arrived in Hong Kong on June 10, and those sitting in rows 46-52 of SQ1 arrived in Hong Kong on June 11 and crew members who had served the affected section concerned as well as other close contact of the patients.

     Passengers who had travelled on the flights concerned are urged to call the DH's hotline 2125 1111.

     In light of the present development of HSI, the spokesman said apart from the existing control measures implemented at control points, DH's Port Health Office would put up notices in all exit points to advise departure and transfer travellers not to travel if they have fever or influenza symptoms.

     Furthermore, DOC and medical surveillance or quarantine imposed on close contacts of confirmed patents will remain unchanged at the present stage, he said.

     The spokesman appealed to the members of the public to advise their children, relatives or friends coming to Hong Kong from abroad to defer their trips if they developed symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat.

     "To protect their own health and that of other travellers, they should seek medical attention where they are.

     "If they feel unwell on the plane, they should wear a face mask and inform cabin crew immediately," the spokesman said.

Ends/Thursday, June 11, 2009
Issued at HKT 21:28


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