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Upper respiratory tract infection outbreak under CHP investigation

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (July 2) appealed to members of 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 three residential homes for the elderly managed under the same company and co-located in the same building in Tai Po involving 26 residents aged 55 to 97.

     Investigations revealed that the affected residents, comprising 11 males and 15 females, developed symptoms of URI including fever, cough, runny nose and sore throat since June 10.

     Twenty-five of the affected residents sought medical consultation and eight of them required hospitalisation. Respiratory specimens of five residents tested positive for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). One of the patients passed away due to underlying illness. The other patients are all currently in a stable condition.

     Officers of the CHP conducted a site visit and provided preventive advice against URI to the institution. The institution was placed under medical surveillance.

     A CHP spokesman said that RSV is 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 URI and influenza, the public should take heed of the following advice:

* 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 if symptoms of respiratory infections develop;
* Maintain good ventilation; and
* Avoid visiting crowded places with poor ventilation, especially during peak influenza seasons.

     Members of the public, particularly children, the elderly and those with chronic diseases, should wear a face mask and consult a doctor promptly if they develop symptoms of respiratory tract infection.

     The public can visit the CHP website ( for more information on URI.

Ends/Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Issued at HKT 17:55


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