Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
Vigilance against communicable diseases in new school year

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (August 26) called on the public to stay vigilant and take necessary preventive measures against common communicable diseases as the new school year approaches.

     A CHP spokesman said that, based on experience from the past few years and current data, a certain number of outbreaks caused by influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), chickenpox and other infectious diseases can be expected in the next three months following school resumption.

     "Hong Kong is currently in the summer influenza season. The CHP's latest surveillance data showed that there has been an increase in the local influenza activity. The latest influenza detection reported has increased from 75 in the week ending July 27 to 170 in the week ending August 17.

     "During the period from the week ending July 27 to the week ending August 17, 14 institutional influenza-like illness outbreaks were reported, affecting a total of 96 persons," the spokesman said.

     The surveillance data also showed that the activity of RSV is very high. The weekly number of RSV detections recorded increased from 51 in the week ending July 27 to 135 in the week ending August 17. Thirteen institutional outbreaks related to RSV infection were reported in July and August (as of August 22) compared with eight outbreaks reported from January to June.

     On the other hand, the activity of HFMD has gradually decreased in August after the peak in June and July. However, recent consultation rates of HFMD detected by sentinel general practitioners are still higher than those recorded in the corresponding periods of the past two years. Apart from the traditional summer season, a smaller winter peak of HFMD activity also occurred from October to December in the past few years.

     As for chickenpox, it usually starts to rise in October and peaks in December and January. It also causes a number of institutional outbreaks in the community, and most of the outbreaks have occurred in pre-primary institutions (including kindergartens and child care centres) as well as primary and secondary schools.

     "To prevent outbreaks of communicable diseases, students who develop symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting, skin rash, fever or influenza-like illness are strongly advised not to attend school and should seek medical advice," the spokesman urged.

     Today, the CHP issued a letter to schools and child care centres reminding them to take precautions against communicable disease outbreaks. Moreover, the "Guidelines on Prevention of Communicable Diseases in Schools/Kindergartens/Kindergartens-cum-Child Care Centres/Child Care Centres" is accessible at the CHP website (

Ends/Monday, August 26, 2013
Issued at HKT 18:42


Print this page