Public urged to be vigilant against upper respiratory tract infection

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (June 14) called on the public to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent upper respiratory tract infection (URI).

     The appeal followed the CHP's investigation into a URI outbreak in a kindergarten and child care centre in Kwun Tong involving 20 students aged between 2 and 5. Investigation revealed that the affected students, comprising 13 males and seven females, developed URI symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat and runny nose since May 27. One of them required hospitalisation and was discharged on June 4. All the affected students are in stable condition.

     The nasopharyngeal aspirate specimen from the admitted student tested positive for adenovirus.

     Staff from the CHP conducted a site visit and provided health advice to the school. The kindergarten and child care centre was put under medical surveillance.

     A CHP spokesman said adenovirus is a group of viruses that commonly cause viral infection in children. The symptoms may vary from respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose and sore throat, to gastroenteritis illnesses such as vomiting and diarrhoea. It may also cause conjunctivitis.

     "Adenovirus infection is usually transmitted by direct contact or faecal-oral transmission. It can occur throughout the year," the spokesman said.

     Most infections are mild and patients usually require no therapy or only symptomatic treatment. Strict attention to good hygiene practices is effective for preventing adenovirus-associated diseases.

     To prevent URI and influenza, the public is advised to adopt the following measures:

* Build up good body immunity by having a proper diet, regular exercise and adequate rest, reducing stress and avoiding smoking;

* Maintain good personal and environmental hygiene, and wash hands after sneezing, coughing and cleaning the nose. Wear a mask when developing symptoms of respiratory infections;

* Maintain good ventilation; and

* Avoid visiting crowded places with poor ventilation, especially during peak influenza season.

     Members of the public, particularly children, elderly people and those with chronic diseases, should wear face masks and consult their doctors for medical advice promptly if they develop symptoms of respiratory tract infection.

     For more information on the disease, members of the public may visit the CHP's website (

Ends/Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Issued at HKT 19:26