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CHP investigates upper respiratory infection outbreak at elderly home

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating an outbreak of upper respiratory tract infection affecting 20 residents aged 63 to 98 at a residential care home for the elderly in Kowloon City.

     The affected residents, comprising 15 females and five males, developed symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection, including fever, runny nose, cough and sore throat since February 17.

     Two of the affected residents were admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and Kowloon Hospital for medical treatment. The resident who was admitted to QEH, with underlying illness, passed away on March 3 after being admitted for chest infection on March 2.  The two patients' throat swabs tested positive for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

     All the 19 affected people are in stable condition.

     CHP staff visited the elderly home and provided health advice to the management.

     A CHP spokesman said that RSV was spread by direct contact with infectious secretions and could be easily transmitted among individuals in institutional settings.

     "The incubation period can be one to 10 days but is usually five to seven days. Common symptoms include fever, chills, runny nose, cough, headache and decreased appetite," he said.

     To prevent respiratory tract infection caused by RSV, members of the public are advised to take 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 and coughing;
* Maintain good ventilation; and
* Avoid visiting crowded places with poor ventilation

     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.

Ends/Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Issued at HKT 18:31


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