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Another case of Tamiflu-resistant human swine influenza detected

     The Department of Health's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch (PHLSB) today (February 17) detected another case of resistance to oseltamivir (Tamiflu) in a strain of human swine influenza (HSI) virus.

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

     "This is the 11th case of Tamiflu resistance to HSI virus detected in Hong Kong.

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

     The virus was isolated from the specimen taken from a 4-year-old girl who enjoyed good past health. She presented with fever and cough since February 4. She sought medical attention in the out-patient department of Canossa Hospital on February 7 and was prescribed with Tamiflu. No hospitalisation was required and the girl is now in stable condition.

     One of her home contacts had influenza-like illness symptoms in early February before the girl developed symptoms and other home contacts were asymptomatic.

     The virus in her nasopharyngeal aspirate specimen taken on February 7 tested positive for influenza A virus subtype H1N1 (human swine influenza) and was found to be resistant to Tamiflu but sensitive to Relenza.

     The spokesman said there was no evidence of further transmission of Tamiflu-resistant HSI from the patient.

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

     The spokesman said that Hong Kong has an intensive surveillance system for antiviral resistant influenza viruses. The PHLSB conducts routine sensitivity tests on specimens taken from confirmed HSI patients.

     "So far more than 6,800 HSI virus samples have been tested for antiviral sensitivity in Hong Kong," he said.

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

Ends/Thursday, February 17, 2011
Issued at HKT 19:24


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