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Update on investigation into case of Legionnaires' disease in elderly home
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (June 5) reported an update on its investigation into a case of Legionnaires' disease (LD) in Golden Age Home for Senior Citizens in Yuen Long announced on May 23.

     The male patient aged 71 remains in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit of Pok Oi Hospital. His respiratory specimen tested positive for Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 (Lp1) upon laboratory testing.

     Water samples and environmental swabs were collected from the elderly home for testing of legionella in a joint investigation of the CHP and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department on the possible source of infection and to support the implementation of control measures.

     Regarding water samples, four out of 12 tested positive for Lp1 at a level from 0.2 to 40.5 colony-forming units per millilitre (cfu/ml). Among them, the total Legionella count of two collected from the water dispenser of the floor where the patient resided was 1.1 and 40.5 cfu/ml, higher than the action level of water systems in residential institutions, i.e. one cfu/ml or above.

     Laboratory investigations revealed that the patient's respiratory specimen and the water sample were of different sequence types of Lp1. Investigations are ongoing.

     "We have advised the elderly home to stop using the relevant water dispenser, and provided health advice against LD to its staff and residents, including those with weakened immunity who should use sterile or boiled water for drinking, teeth brushing and mouth rinsing," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     "Medical surveillance has been enhanced in collaboration with the elderly home. No additional cases have been identified thus far. We will maintain close liaison with the elderly home to monitor the latest developments," the spokesman added.

     As for community-acquired cases, from May 28 to June 3, two were reported and they are:
  1. A male patient, aged 86 with underlying illnesses, who lives in Yue Chak House, Yue Tin Court, Sha Tin; and
  2. A male patient, aged 67 with underlying illnesses, who lives in Nan Hai Mansion, Praya, Kennedy Town.

     "Epidemiological investigations are under way to identify potential sources of infection, high-risk exposure and clusters, if any," the spokesman said.

     As of June 3, a total of 29 LD cases (26 community-acquired, two nosocomial, one institutional) had been reported in 2017. In 2016 and 2015, there were 75 and 66 cases respectively.

     The public may visit the CHP's LD page, the Code of Practice for Prevention of LD and the Housekeeping Guidelines for Cold and Hot Water Systems for Building Management of the Prevention of LD Committee, and the CHP's risk-based strategy for prevention and control of LD.
Ends/Monday, June 5, 2017
Issued at HKT 18:40
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