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Update on investigation into case of Legionnaires' disease in hospital
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (December 23) reported an update on its investigation into a case of Legionnaires' disease (LD) at Pok Oi Hospital (POH) announced on December 15.
     The male patient, aged 73, was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit in a serious condition.
     During a joint investigation by the CHP and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department on the possible source of infection and to support the implementation of control measures, water samples and environmental swabs were collected from POH for laboratory testing of legionella.
     Upon testing by the CHP's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch, all five environmental swabs tested positive for Legionella pneumophila.
     Based on the strategy recommended by the CHP's Scientific Committee on Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases in effect since January 1 this year, preliminary testing results revealed that the total legionella count of 10 out of 11 water samples was higher than the action level of water systems in low-risk areas of hospitals, i.e. one colony-forming unit per millilitre or above, pending further laboratory investigations into the absolute count.
     The CHP noted that POH would conduct disinfection of the water systems concerned. Health advice against LD has been provided to staff and in-patients, including those with weakened immunity who should use sterile or boiled water for drinking, teeth brushing and mouth rinsing.
     "Medical surveillance in the ward to which the patient was earlier admitted has been enhanced in collaboration with POH. No additional cases have been identified thus far. We will maintain close liaison with POH to monitor the latest developments. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing," a spokesman for the CHP said.
     As of December 17, a total of 73 LD cases, including 71 community-acquired cases and two institutional cases (including one death), had been reported in 2016. In 2015 and 2014, there were 66 and 41 cases respectively.
Ends/Friday, December 23, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:22
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