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CHP investigates two cases of severe paediatric influenza A infection
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (July 18) investigating two cases of severe paediatric influenza A infection.
     "The local seasonal influenza activity has been increasing markedly in the past two weeks and has reached a very high level amid the summer influenza season. It is expected to remain at a high level in the coming weeks. We strongly urge the public, particularly children, the elderly and chronic disease patients, to observe strict personal, hand and environmental hygiene for better personal protection against the seasonal influenza," a spokesman for the CHP said.
     The first case is a girl aged five in Dongguan with underlying illnesses. She developed fever and vomiting on July 16 and was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for management on the same day. She was subsequently transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) yesterday (July 17) for further treatment. The clinical diagnosis was shock and she is now in serious condition.
     Her nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) tested positive for influenza A(H3) virus upon laboratory testing. Initial enquiries revealed that the patient had received seasonal influenza vaccination (SIV) for the current season. Her maternal grandmother who had recent upper respiratory tract infection (URI) symptoms had recovered and other household contacts have remained asymptomatic.
     The other case is a nine-month-old baby boy with underlying illness. He has presented with fever, cough, runny nose, diarrhoea and drooping of eyelid since July 8 and was admitted to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital for treatment on July 13. He was then transferred to the PICU on July 14 for further management. His clinical diagnosis was encephalitis and his condition is stable.
     His NPS tested positive for influenza A(H3). He had no travel history in the incubation period and has yet to receive SIV. His father, elder brother and cousin who had recent URI symptoms were in stable condition while other home contacts have been asymptomatic.
     Investigations by the CHP into the two cases are ongoing.
     The public should maintain good personal and environmental hygiene against influenza and other respiratory illnesses:
  • Receive seasonal influenza vaccination for personal protection;
  • 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 as an effective alternative;
  • Wash or clean hands frequently, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes, or after touching public installations such as handrails or door knobs;
  • 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;
  • When influenza is prevalent, avoid going to crowded or poorly ventilated public places; high-risk individuals may consider putting on surgical masks when staying 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 influenza pageweekly Flu Express report and vaccination schemes page for more information.
Ends/Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Issued at HKT 20:07
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