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Detection of human swine influenza virus resistant to Tamiflu

     The Department of Health's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch (PHLSB) today (October 22) detected a strain of human swine influenza (HSI) virus which was resistant to oseltamivir (Tamiflu).

     A department spokesman said the virus was identified during PHLSB's sensitivity test of HSI virus to oseltamivir and zanamivir.

     "This is the fourth time Tamiflu resistance in HSI virus is found in Hong Kong and is the third local case.

     "Tests showed that this strain is sensitive to zanamivir (Relenza)," he said.

     The virus was isolated from the specimen taken from a 16-year-old girl who developed flu-like symptoms on September 14 and attended a Designated Flu Clinic on September 16.

     Her respiratory specimen tested positive for HSI.

     Further test results today showed that the virus was resistant to Tamiflu. She had no history of taking Tamiflu before the specimen was taken.

     The girl has already recovered. Investigations revealed that her five family members did not have respiratory symptoms. There was no recent influenza-like-illness outbreak in the school she attended.

     The spokesman said that PHLSB conducted routine sensitivity tests on specimens taken from confirmed HSI patients.

     So far more than 5,000 HSI samples had been tested for anti-viral sensitivity in Hong Kong.

     The case will be reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the spokesman said.

     He reiterated that Hong Kong had an intensive surveillance system of antiviral resistant influenza viruses.

     "We will closely liaise with the WHO and overseas health authorities to monitor the global development of antiviral-resistant HSI virus," he said.

Ends/Thursday, October 22, 2009
Issued at HKT 19:54


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