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Public urged to be vigilant against upper respiratory tract infection

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (July 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 at a residential child care centre in Causeway Bay involving 20 children aged 2 or below.

     Investigation revealed that the affected children, comprising 11 males and nine females, have developed URI symptoms including fever, runny nose, cough and sore throat since June 22. Six of them were hospitalised but have already been discharged. All of the affected children are in stable condition.

     Nasopharyngeal aspirate specimens from five of the affected children tested positive for adenovirus.

     Staff of the CHP have conducted a site visit and provided health advice to the institution.

     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 and sore throat to gastroenteritis illnesses such as vomiting and diarrhoea. It may also cause conjunctivitis.

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

     He also said that most infections were mild and patients usually required no therapy or only symptomatic treatment. Strict attention to good hygiene practices is effective in preventing adenovirus-associated diseases.

     To prevent URI and influenza, the public are 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 the 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, people may visit the CHP's website (

Ends/Thursday, July 14, 2011
Issued at HKT 16:52


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