CHP's response to media enquiries on fatal paediatric case

     In response to media enquiries on a fatal paediatric case, a spokesman for the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (June 30) gave the following reply:

     "Upon receipt of an enquiry from a primary school in Ho Man Tin today, the CHP followed up and commenced epidemiological investigation immediately," the spokesman remarked.

     According to the attending clinician, the boy aged eight, with good past health, has presented with fever and vomiting since June 15 and was admitted to Prince of Wales Hospital (PWH) on June 17 for management. His condition deteriorated and he was transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit on June 20 for further management. He passed away yesterday (June 29).

     The clinical diagnosis was encephalitis. His tracheal aspirate was tested positive for Mycoplasma pneumoniae upon testing by PWH.

     The CHP's investigations are ongoing.

     "To date, no outbreak of communicable disease has been detected so far in the primary school which the patient attended," the spokesman added.

     "Mycoplasma pneumoniae most commonly causes acute upper and lower respiratory illness and the disease usually has a prolonged and gradual onset. The majority of patients presents with mild upper respiratory tract infection. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, malaise and headache," the spokesman explained.

     The disease is mainly transmitted by droplets. It may also be spread from person to person by direct contact with the nose and throat discharges of infected persons; or indirectly through contaminated articles freshly soiled by secretions of the infected person.

     The spokesman advised members of the public to take heed of the following preventive measures against the disease:

* Build up good body immunity by having a proper diet, regular exercise and adequate rest, reducing stress and avoiding smoking;
* Keep hands clean and wash hands properly;
* Wash hands with liquid soap promptly if they are contaminated by respiratory tract secretions, such as after sneezing or coughing;
* Cover nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing;
* No spitting. Always wrap nasal and mouth discharges with tissue paper, and dispose of the tissue paper properly in a lidded rubbish bin;
* Wear mask when symptoms of respiratory tract infection or fever develop. Refrain from work or school and seek medical advice promptly;
* Maintain good ventilation of indoor areas; and
* Avoid attending crowded and poorly ventilated places.

Ends/Monday, June 30, 2014
Issued at HKT 21:16