CHP investigates two influenza outbreaks at primary schools
The influenza B outbreak at the primary school in Yau Tsim Mong District has affected 27 boys aged 6 to 10, who have developed fever, cough and sore throat since January 18. Twenty-one of them sought medical attention and one was discharged after hospitalisation for treatment. All patients are in stable condition. The respiratory specimens of four affected students tested positive for influenza B virus.
Meanwhile, the influenza outbreak at the primary school in Southern District involves 14 boys and eight girls aged 5 to 9, who have developed fever, cough and sore throat since January 7. Twenty of them sought medical attention but none required hospitalisation. They are all in stable condition. The respiratory specimens of three affected students tested positive for influenza A virus while those of two others tested positive for influenza B virus.
Officers of the CHP have conducted site visits and advised both schools to adopt necessary infection control measures against respiratory infections. Both schools have been put under medical surveillance.
In view of the sharp increase in influenza-like illness outbreaks in schools in the past two weeks, the CHP has today issued letters to schools to appeal for heightened vigilance and reinforcement of preventive measures to mitigate the impact of seasonal influenza.
A spokesman for the CHP said, "To prevent outbreaks of influenza and other respiratory infections, it is of prime importance that children with fever, regardless of the presence of respiratory symptoms, should not be allowed to attend school. They should seek medical advice and avoid school till 48 hours after the fever has subsided. Schools should also measure and record students' body temperature properly."
Schools are reminded to follow the Guidelines on Prevention of Communicable Diseases on preventive and control measures as well as management of outbreaks, which should be reported to the CHP for prompt follow-up.
The spokesman said, "The local seasonal influenza activity has been rising markedly in the past two weeks to a high level. The influenza activity may increase further in the coming few weeks and will remain at an elevated level for some time. 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 seasonal influenza and other respiratory illnesses in view of the arrival of a cold front this week as cold weather can easily trigger or exacerbate diseases especially among such high-risk groups. In particular, high-risk individuals should avoid going to crowded or poorly ventilated public places and put on surgical masks if they visit such places.
"Children, the elderly and those with underlying illnesses are recommended to get vaccinated against seasonal influenza for better personal protection. People should promptly seek medical advice if influenza-like symptoms develop so that appropriate treatment can be initiated as early as possible to prevent potential complications. Parents and carers are reminded to render assistance in prevention, care and control for vulnerable people."
Besides receiving seasonal influenza vaccine for personal protection, the public should maintain good personal and environmental hygiene for protection against influenza and other respiratory illnesses. For more information, please visit the CHP's influenza page and weekly Flu Express for more information.
The public can also visit the CHP's designated websites on proper hand hygiene and proper use of masks for specific advice on personal protection.
Ends/Monday, January 29, 2018
Issued at HKT 19:55
Issued at HKT 19:55