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Update on HFMD cases

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (May 31) has released updated laboratory test result in connection with the 35-year-old woman who died of encephalitis on May 23.

     Her throat swab specimen has yielded positive result for Coxsackievirus A16 in the tests by both CHP's Public Health Laboratory Centre and the Microbiology Department of Queen Mary Hospital.

     Coxsackievirus A16 is the commonest type of enterovirus causing Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) in Hong Kong. Majority of the patients have mild illness.  Rarely, it may cause complications such as myocarditis, pneumonia, meningitis and encephalitis as reported in overseas literature.

     The woman presented with rash over hands on May 12. She further developed fever and dizziness on May 21. On May 22, she was found collapsed and was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). She passed away the next day.

     Earlier on, specimens of her throat and rectal swabs were preliminarily tested positive for enterovirus.

     As for the 43-year-old man at QEH, a spokesman for CHP said he is in stable condition, no longer suffering from double vision and has been transferred out of the Intensive Care Unit.

     Laboratory tests on his specimens are still going on.

     The spokesman added that the 34-year-old woman at Tuen Mun Hospital who was confirmed to be suffering from Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is now in stable condition.

     According to reports received by the DH, during the past 12 years in Hong Kong, four HFMD related deaths were known to occur in 1999, 2000, 2008 and 2009 respectively. All were children and caused by EV71.

     The spokesman reminded members of the public, particularly management of institutions, to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent HFMD and EV71. They should:

*    Maintain good indoor ventilation.
*    Wash hands before meals and after going to the toilet, handling diapers or other stool-soiled materials.
*    Keep hands clean and wash hands properly, especially when they are made dirty by respiratory secretions, such as after sneezing.
*    Cover nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing and dispose of nasal and mouth discharge properly.
*    Clean children's toys and other objects thoroughly and frequently with 1:49 diluted household bleach, followed by rinsing/wiping with clean water.
*    Children who are ill should be kept out of school until their fever and rash have subsided and all the vesicles have dried and crusted.
*    Avoid going to overcrowded places.

     For more information about the current status of HFMD, please refer to a daily sitrep published by CHP at its website,

Ends/Monday, May 31, 2010
Issued at HKT 21:11


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