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CHP investigates case of severe paediatric influenza B infection
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (February 7) investigating a case of severe paediatric influenza B infection.

     The case involves a 5-year-old girl with underlying illnesses, who has presented with fever, cough, runny nose and convulsion since yesterday (February 6). She was taken to the Accident and Emergency Department of Yan Chai Hospital yesterday and was admitted to the paediatric intensive care unit at Princess Margaret Hospital for further management today.

     Her nasopharyngeal aspirate tested positive for influenza B virus upon laboratory testing. The clinical diagnosis was encephalopathy. She is now in a serious condition.

     Initial enquiries revealed that the patient had yet to receive seasonal influenza vaccination for the current season and had no recent travel history. Her home contacts are asymptomatic so far.

     Epidemiological investigations revealed that there was an influenza B outbreak in the kindergarten which the patient attended. Apart from the above-mentioned patient, one boy and four girls aged 4 to 6 from that kindergarten have developed influenza-like symptoms since February 1. All of them sought medical attention and none required 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 have conducted a site visit and advised the kindergarten to adopt infection control measures against respiratory infections. The kindergarten has been put under medical surveillance.

     The public should maintain good personal and environmental hygiene for protection 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;
  • 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.

     For more information, please visit the CHP's influenza page and weekly Flu Express.
Ends/Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Issued at HKT 17:12
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