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Vigilance urged against Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health has repeated its urge for the public to stay vigilant against Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) during its current high season as three more reports of neurological complications suspected to be due to enterovirus (EV) infection were received today (June 4).

     The first case, received today, was an eight-year-old boy with good past health. He presented with on and off fever since May 23 and was seen by a general practitioner.

     The boy had decreased appetite, lethargy and inappropriate speech on May 29. He was admitted to United Christian Hospital. He was put in Intensive Care Unit for close observation the next day. His symptoms were clinically compatible with encephalitis.

     The boy is now in serious condition. His throat and rectal swab specimens were tested negative for EV but further tests are being conducted to ascertain the cause of illness.

     The boy's home contacts were asymptomatic. He attended a primary school in Kwun Tong where no HFMD outbreak was noted.

     The second case, also received today, was a confirmed case of EV infection with encephalitis complication. It involved a 23-year-old male student with good past health. He presented with fever, headache, diarrhea and vomiting on May 19 and consulted a general practitioner.

     On May 24, his fever persisted and he was admitted to Kwong Wah Hospital. He is now in stable condition.

     Preliminary laboratory result of his cerebrospinal fluid was positive for EV. Further laboratory tests are being conducted.
     The man did not attend classes after the onset of symptoms and his home contacts are asymptomatic.

     The patient travelled to the Mainland on May 17 with four persons. The CHP is contacting his travel collaterals to enquire their health status.

     The third case, received last night, involved a 13-year-old boy who had viral meningitis. His specimens yielded positive results for EV. His current condition is stable. Further laboratory tests are in progress. There was no HFMD outbreak detected in the secondary school where he studied.

     His younger brother had fever, cough and running nose since May 12. His fever had subsided. He is now in stable condition. Clinical specimens were taken from him and results were pending. There is no current HFMD outbreak in the school he attended.

     In another development, a CHP spokesman said the stool specimen of the three-year-old girl with cerebellitus complication was tested positive for Coxackie A4 virus. She is now in stable condition and has been discharged today.

     The spokesman called on the public to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent HFMD. They should adopt the following measures:

*    Maintain good air circulation;
*    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; and
*    Avoid going to overcrowded places.

Ends/Friday, June 4, 2010
Issued at HKT 21:40


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