CHP investigates a case of severe paediatric influenza B infection and two influenza outbreaks at schools
The case of severe paediatric influenza B infection involves a three-year-old boy with good past health, who has presented with fever, cough with sputum, runny nose and shortness of breath since January 18. He was admitted to the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital – Tsuen Wan yesterday (January 29) and was transferred to the paediatric intensive care unit of Princess Margaret Hospital for further management on the same day.
His nasopharyngeal aspirate tested positive for influenza B virus. The clinical diagnosis was influenza B infection complicated with severe pneumonia and empyema. He is now in a serious condition.
The patient had no travel history during the incubation period and did not receive seasonal influenza vaccination for the current season. His parents had upper respiratory tract infection symptoms recently and they are in a stable condition.
Epidemiological investigations revealed that there was an influenza B outbreak in the kindergarten where the patient attended. Apart from the patient, one boy and one girl aged 4 to 5 have developed influenza-like illness symptoms since January 18. Both sought medical attention and one was discharged after hospitalisation. They are now in a stable condition. The respiratory specimen of one affected student tested positive for influenza B virus.
Officers of the CHP will conduct site visit to the kindergarten and to provide health advice on necessary infection control measures against respiratory infections. The kindergarten has been put under medical surveillance.
Separately, the influenza outbreak at the primary school in Sha Tin has affected 11 boys and 11 girls aged 6 to 12, who have developed fever, cough and sore throat since January 7. All of them sought medical attention and two required hospitalisation. All patients are in stable condition. The nasopharyngeal aspirate of one affected student and the nasopharyngeal swab of another tested positive for influenza B virus.
The influenza outbreak at the kindergarten in Happy Valley involves 14 boys and seven girls aged 3 to 5, who have developed cough, sore throat and fever since January 11. All of them sought medical attention and two were discharged after hospitalisation. They are all in stable condition. The respiratory specimens of five affected students tested positive for influenza B virus.
Officers of the CHP have conducted site visits and advised both schools with outbreaks to adopt necessary infection control measures against respiratory infections. The two schools have also been put under medical surveillance.
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 is expected to remain at an elevated level in the coming few weeks. 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.
Ends/Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Issued at HKT 19:55
Issued at HKT 19:55