CHP investigates acute gastroenteritis outbreak in kindergarten cum child care centre in Tuen Mun

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (January 10) investigating an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) in a kindergarten cum child care centre in Tuen Mun. The CHP has also appealed to the public and management of schools and institutions to maintain personal, environmental and food hygiene against AGE.

     The 20 affected pupils, nine boys and 11 girls aged from two to six, have developed vomiting and diarrhoea since January 5. Among them, 13 consulted private doctors and General Out-patient Clinics and none required hospitalisation. All affected students remain in stable condition.

     The CHP's investigations are proceeding.

     Officers of the CHP have visited the school and provided health advice to staff on proper disinfection, disposal of vomitus, and personal, environmental and food hygiene. The school has been put under medical surveillance.

     "AGE, commonly caused by norovirus and rotavirus, is a frequent cause of outbreaks in schools and institutions. AGE outbreaks may occur throughout the year but are known to occur more frequently in winter. AGE is highly infectious and may result in outbreaks which are difficult to control," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     Symptoms of AGE include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever and malaise. The infection can spread through consumption of contaminated food or direct contact with the vomitus or excreta of infected persons.

     To prevent the spread of AGE, the public should take heed of the following advice:

* Ensure proper personal hygiene;
* Wash hands thoroughly before handling food and eating, and after using the toilet;
* Wear gloves when disposing of vomitus or faecal matter, and wash hands afterwards;
* Clean and disinfect contaminated areas or items promptly and thoroughly with diluted household bleach (by adding one part of bleach containing 5.25 per cent sodium hypochlorite to 49 parts of water);
* Maintain good indoor ventilation;
* Pay attention to food hygiene;
* Use separate utensils to handle raw and cooked food;
* Avoid food that is not thoroughly cooked;
* Do not try to use salt, vinegar, wine and wasabi to kill bacteria as they are not effective;
* Drink boiled water; and
* Do not patronise unlicensed food premises and food stalls.

     Members of the public may visit the CHP's pages on norovirus infection ( and rotavirus infection ( for more information and preventive advice.

Ends/Friday, January 10, 2014
Issued at HKT 15:50