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Sustained hygiene advised beyond summer influenza season
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (August 30) announced the end of the summer influenza season. Members of the public are however strongly advised to continue to maintain personal, hand and environmental hygiene against respiratory diseases.

     "Hong Kong entered the summer influenza season in mid-May, which is earlier than the past seasons that usually occurred from July to September. The seasonal influenza (SI) activity increased steadily in June and rose sharply to a very high level in mid-July with some surveillance parameters surpassing their highest levels in recent years. It decreased notably in early August and returned to a baseline level in late August," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     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 dropped from 12.79 to 8.90 per cent from the week of August 13 to that of August 20.

     In the same period, the number of institutional outbreaks of influenza-like illness decreased from seven (affecting 25 persons) to two (10 persons). As of yesterday (August 29), one (five persons) has 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 32 per day recently (August 23 to 29).

     Regarding severe influenza cases, in adults, 576 cases of influenza-associated admission to the Intensive Care Unit or death (including 428 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 2.7 per day recently (August 23 to 29).

     "Although the summer influenza season has ended, the public should continue to adopt strict personal, hand and environmental hygiene practices against respiratory illnesses and other infectious diseases," the spokesman said.

     The public may visit the CHP's influenza page and weekly Flu Express for more information.
Ends/Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Issued at HKT 14:30
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