Upper respiratory tract infection outbreak under CHP investigation

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (January 21) 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 a kindergarten in Wong Tai Sin, affecting 20 pupils (11 boys and nine girls) aged from 3 to 5.

     Investigations revealed that the affected persons developed symptoms of URI including fever, cough, runny nose and sore throat since January 7.

     Sixteen of them sought medical consultation and one required hospitalisation. All the affected children are currently in a stable condition.

     The nasopharyngeal aspirate of the hospitalised student tested positive for adenovirus.

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

     A CHP spokesman said adenovirus is a group of viruses that commonly cause viral infection in children. The symptoms may vary from respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough and sore throat, to gastroenteritis illnesses such as vomiting and diarrhoea. It may also cause conjunctivitis.

     "Adenovirus infection is usually transmitted by direct contact with oro-nasal secretions or faecal-oral transmission. It can occur throughout the year," the spokesman said.

     Most infections are mild and patients usually require no therapy or only symptomatic treatment, he said. Strict attention to good hygiene practices is effective for preventing adenovirus-associated diseases, he added.

     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 URI.

     The public can visit the CHP website (www.chp.gov.hk) for more information on URI.

Ends/Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Issued at HKT 12:16