CHP investigates outbreak of upper respiratory tract infection in sheltered workshop

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (August 12) investigating an outbreak of upper respiratory tract infection (URI) in a sheltered workshop in Eastern District, and appealed to members of the public to stay alert and maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene.

      The outbreak involves 10 men and 16 women (19 attendees and seven staff) aged 29 to 65 who have developed URI symptoms including fever, cough, runny nose and sore throat since August 2. Among them, 21 sought medical attention and three of them required hospitalisation. All three have been discharged upon management.

     All affected persons are now in stable condition. The nasopharyngeal swabs of two affected persons tested positive for parainfluenza virus (PIV) type 3 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) respectively upon laboratory testing.

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

     PIV commonly causes respiratory infections, especially in young children, which usually manifests as a mild upper respiratory infection. However, it may sometimes cause more serious clinical conditions such as pneumonia, bronchitis and bronchiolitis, especially among the elderly and immunocompromised patients. RSV infection is more active in spring and summer months in Hong Kong. It mainly causes infections of the airway, the lungs or the 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.

    "Both PIV and RSV can be transmitted by contact with secretions of infected persons as well as contaminated objects and surfaces," a spokesman for the CHP 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/Friday, August 12, 2016
Issued at HKT 19:13