CHP investigates outbreak of upper respiratory tract infection at kindergarten in Eastern District

      The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (April 3) investigating an outbreak of upper respiratory tract infection (URI) at a kindergarten in Eastern District, and appealed to members of the public to stay alert and maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene.
      The outbreak involves 19 boys and three girls aged 3 to 5, who have developed URI symptoms including fever, cough and runny nose since March 19. All have sought medical attention. Among them, two required hospitalisation and have been discharged upon management. All of them are in stable condition.
      The nasopharyngeal swab of the two admitted pupils tested positive for adenovirus while one of them also tested positive for human metapneumovirus (hMPV) upon laboratory testing.
      Adenoviruses are a group of viruses which infect the mucous membranes. Depending on the type of virus, they may cause respiratory illnesses, but also diarrhoea, eye infections and rashes. Infections can occur all year round. Young children, the elderly and immunocompromised patients are more susceptible.
      "The infection mainly spreads through air droplets, direct contact of the oro-nasal secretions of patients, or ingestion of contaminated food or water, and may cause outbreaks of acute respiratory or eye infections in institutional settings such as schools and hospitals," a spokesman for the CHP said.
     He added that hMPV can cause acute respiratory tract infections in all ages.
      "Persons with hMPV infection can present with symptoms of varying severity, such as fever, cough, difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath. Some children may also present with otitis media, diarrhoea, vomiting, rash and febrile convulsion. In adults, hMPV usually causes mild disease characterised by cough, hoarseness, runny nose and sputum production," the spokesman said.
     Officers of the CHP have inspected the kindergarten and provided health advice against URI. The school has been placed under medical surveillance.
      The public should also observe advice 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 page on adenovirus infection  ( and hMPV ( for more information.

Ends/Monday, April 3, 2017
Issued at HKT 19:52