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SFH on influenza

     Following is the transcript of remarks (English portion) made by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, after attending a public function this morning (February 17):

Reporter: (on case of Tamiflu-resistant human swine influenza)

Secretary for Food and Health: According to the virologist of the Department of Health, there has no sign of any mutation of the virus with significant changes. There are some genetic drifts which are relating to the resistance of the virus to different types of anti-viral agents. But as I explained, this is a very common phenomenon when it comes to influenza viruses. The most important aspect is that we do not find the continuation of this genetic drift in the subsequent so-called generation of virus transmitted from person to person. I think so far this is something that is predictable and also not alarming at all.   

Reporter: (on the number of school outbreaks)

Secretary for Food and Health: Since the schools have resumed this week, we are seeing some outbreaks in some schools. The number of students affected is still limited. We require schools to inform the Department of Health when they have about three students in one class that are affected, and of course that is not uncommon. According to the statistics so far, the number of outbreaks with large number of students is still very limited.   

Reporter: Do you think there is a need for middle-aged people to take the flu jabs?

Secretary for Food and Health: According to the panel of specialists on the vaccination programme, the most important aspect of vaccination is against those high-risk groups, these include those with chronic illnesses. According to the statistics so far, a lot of people admitted in the intensive care units are middle-aged and also 60 per cent or above have some form of chronic illnesses, and we feel that this is important for this group to be vaccinated.     

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript)

Ends/Thursday, February 17, 2011
Issued at HKT 13:01


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