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Increase in Respiratory Syncytial Virus activity

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (March 7) called on the public to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infection. The appeal followed the CHP's latest surveillance data showing an increase in the activity of RSV in recent weeks.

     Since mid-February, RSV detections by the CHP's Public Health Laboratory Centre have been on a seasonal rise. The number of RSV detections increased from 31 in the week ending February 18 to 60 in the week ending February 25. The latest RSV detection figure was 74 in the week ending March 3.

     Three RSV institutional outbreaks have been reported to the CHP so far this year, affecting a total of 33 persons. There were 26 and 30 RSV outbreaks recorded in 2010 and 2011 affecting 380 and 284 persons respectively.

     "RSV mainly causes acute respiratory tract infections, and is more active in spring and summer months from March to August in Hong Kong," the spokesman said. "It can be transmitted by direct contact with infectious secretions, by droplets spread, or indirectly through contaminated hands or articles freshly soiled by oro-nasal discharge of infected persons. Common symptoms include fever, chills, headache and decreased appetite."

     Members of the public are reminded to take the following measures to prevent respiratory tract infection:

* 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;
* Wash hands after sneezing, coughing or cleaning the nose;
* Maintain good indoor ventilation; and
* Avoid visiting crowded places with poor ventilation.

     Members of the public, particularly young children, elderly people and those with chronic diseases, should wear face masks and consult their doctors promptly if they develop symptoms.

Ends/Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:51


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