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CHP investigates respiratory syncytial virus infection outbreak in child care centre

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (March 16) investigating an outbreak of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in a child care centre in Causeway Bay, and appealed to the public to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene against respiratory illnesses.

     The 20 affected young children, 10 boys and 10 girls aged from 5 months to 2 years, have developed fever, cough and runny nose since February 29. Among them, 16 sought medical attention and nine of them required hospitalisation. Six of them have been discharged upon management. All children are now in stable condition.

     The nasopharyngeal swabs of six of the hospitalised children tested positive for RSV upon testing by the CHP's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch.

     Officers of the CHP conducted a site visit and advised the centre to adopt necessary infection control measures against respiratory infections. The centre has been put under medical surveillance.

     "RSV infection is more active in spring and summer months in Hong Kong. It mainly causes infections of the airway, lungs or middle ear. It is a common virus causing chest infection among infants and young children. Patients usually develop fever and other symptoms such as chills, headache, decreased appetite, body ache or weakness, and occasionally gastrointestinal disturbances in infants," a spokesman for the CHP explained.

     "RSV can be transmitted by direct contact with infectious secretions, by droplet spread, or indirectly through contaminated hands, eating utensils or articles freshly soiled by nasal discharge of the infected person," the spokesman said.

     The public should maintain good personal and environmental hygiene for protection against respiratory illnesses:

* Wash hands with liquid soap and water properly whenever possibly contaminated;
* When hands are not visibly soiled, clean them with 70 to 80 per cent alcohol-based handrub;
* Cover the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, and wash hands thoroughly afterwards;
* Dispose of soiled tissue paper properly in a lidded rubbish bin;
* Put on a surgical mask when respiratory symptoms develop;
* Maintain good indoor ventilation;
* Avoid going to crowded or poorly ventilated public places; high-risk individuals may consider putting on surgical masks in such places; and
* Maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly, take adequate rest, do not smoke and avoid overstress.

     The public may visit the CHP's RSV infection page ( for more information.

Ends/Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:00


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