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Influenza activity drops further
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (August 24) reported that the local seasonal influenza (SI) activity and influenza admissions to public hospitals further decreased in the past week.

     The positive percentage of SI viruses among respiratory specimens received by the CHP peaked at 40.86 per cent in the week of July 9. It further dropped from 18.02 to 12.75 per cent from the week of August 6 to that of August 13.

     "We expect that the local SI activity will soon return to a baseline level," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     In the same period, the number of institutional outbreaks of influenza-like illness decreased from 12 (affecting 75 persons) to seven (25 persons). As of yesterday (August 23), two (10 persons) had been recorded this week.

     The average daily number of influenza cases admitted to public hospitals peaked at 350 per day in the seven-day period from July 11 to 17 and then steadily decreased to 51 per day recently (August 17 to 23).

     Regarding severe influenza cases, in adults, 560 cases of influenza-associated admission to the Intensive Care Unit or death (including 414 deaths) were recorded from May 5 to yesterday in the enhanced surveillance with the Hospital Authority and private hospitals.

     In children, in the same period, 19 cases of severe influenza-associated complication or death (three deaths) were detected. The last case was reported on August 2.

     The average daily number of severe cases among all ages peaked at 11.3 per day in the seven-day period from July 12 to 18 and then gradually decreased to 3.4 per day recently (August 17 to 23).

     In Guangdong, Macau and Taiwan, the influenza activity has been decreasing in the past few weeks. However, in the temperate Southern Hemisphere and parts of South and Southeast Asia, high levels of influenza activity were reported.

     The public and travellers should maintain good personal and environmental hygiene for protection against influenza and other respiratory illnesses both locally and during travel:
  • 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;
  • 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 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 page and weekly Flu Express for more information.
Ends/Thursday, August 24, 2017
Issued at HKT 17:00
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