CHP investigates case of severe paediatric influenza A infection

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (December 5) investigating a case of severe paediatric influenza A infection.

     The 10-year-old boy, with good past health, has presented with fever, cough, sore throat, vomiting and confusion since December 2. He attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Tuen Mun Hospital on December 4 and was admitted for further management on the same day. He is now in a stable condition.
     His respiratory specimen tested positive for influenza A virus upon laboratory testing. The clinical diagnosis was influenza A infection complicated with encephalopathy.

     Initial enquiries revealed that the patient had not yet received seasonal influenza vaccination (SIV) for the current season and had travelled to Guangdong during the incubation period. His mother and younger sister had upper respiratory tract infection symptoms recently and are in a stable condition. His elder sister was asymptomatic. The CHP's investigations are ongoing.
    "Influenza can cause serious illnesses in high-risk individuals and even healthy persons. Given that influenza vaccines are safe and effective, all persons aged 6 months or above, except those with known contraindications, are recommended to receive SIV for personal protection," a spokesman for the CHP said.
     As it is already December and Hong Kong will soon enter the winter influenza season, eligible persons are urged to receive SIV early for protection against seasonal influenza as it takes about two weeks to develop antibodies. Vaccination among family members is key to protecting their personal and family's health."
     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, December 5, 2018
Issued at HKT 18:15