CHP investigates case of severe paediatric influenza A infection
A 7-year-old boy, who lives in the Mainland and has had good past health, travelled to Hong Kong on February 15 and presented with fever, cough and muscle pain since February 18. He developed seizures the next day and was admitted to Queen Mary Hospital. His nasopharyngeal aspirate tested positive for influenza A (H1) virus upon laboratory testing. The clinical diagnosis was influenza A infection complicated with encephalopathy. He is now in a stable condition.
Initial enquiries revealed that the patient had not received seasonal influenza vaccination for the current season. His home contacts and travel collaterals are asymptomatic so far. Investigations are ongoing.
Meanwhile, in view of the continuous high level of seasonal influenza activity locally and the end of the Lunar New Year holiday for schools soon, the CHP 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 public should also 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/Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Issued at HKT 17:45
Issued at HKT 17:45