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Serious Response Level activated in public hospitals

The following is issued on behalf of the Hospital Authority:

     The Hospital Authority (HA) spokesman announced that upon the confirmation of a patient case of Influenza A (H5) infection by the Centre for Health Protection today (November 17), the Serious Response Level was activated in public hospitals to tie in with the Government's Preparedness Plan for Influenza Pandemic.  A series of measures to enhance surveillance and infection control will be implemented in public hospitals and clinics.  An urgent meeting of the HA Central Committee on Infectious Diseases & Emergency Responses was convened this afternoon to discuss the arrangements and implementation of the enhanced measures in public hospitals.

     The HA spokesman said public hospitals will closely monitor the all suspected as well as confirmed cases and enhance the existing report mechanism.  Furthermore, high risk patients attending Accident & Emergency Departments and general out-patient clinics would be triaged according to stipulated clinical guidelines, and appropriate tests would be performed when it was clinically indicated.

     Under the Serious Response Level, more stringent infection control measures will be enforced in public hospitals, which include no visiting at isolation wards unless on compassionate ground.  For general acute hospitals, visiting hour is limited to not more than two hours a day and two persons at a time; for infirmary/convalescent hospitals, it is limited to not more than four hours a day and two persons at a time.  Visitors to public hospitals and clinics are required to put on surgical masks and perform hand hygiene before and after visiting patient areas.

     According to the spokesman, HA would continue to work closely with Centre for Health Protection in monitoring the latest situation and keep the general public as well as health care workers updated of the development on a regular basis.

     Regarding the 59-year-old female patient who has been confirmed Influenza A (H5) infection, she travelled to mainland China during October 23 to November 1, developed running nose since November 2, and fever and cough on November 5. She attended the Accidental and Emergency Department of Tuen Mun Hospital (TMH) on November 12. Owing to persistent fever and productive cough with blood-streaked yellowish sputum, she was admitted to medical ward through the Accident and Emergency Department of Tuen Mun Hospital on 14 November with clinical diagnosis of pneumonia.  She was treated under isolation and was prescribed with Antibiotics.

     The specimen from nasopharyngeal aspirate is positive to Influenza A (H5).  She was prescribed with Tamiflu in addition to antibiotics after the viral test result was available.  Her clinical condition continued to deteriorate and she was transferred to Intensive Care Unit on November 16.  She was transferred to the HA Infectious Disease Centre in Princess Margaret Hospital tonight (November 17) under isolation and is in serious condition.

Ends/Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Issued at HKT 22:33


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