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CHP investigates suspected case of severe paediatric influenza A infection
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (December 15) investigating a suspected case of severe paediatric influenza A infection and reminded the community to heighten vigilance against influenza.
     The suspected case involves a 13-year-old girl with good past health who had travelled to the United Kingdom (UK) during the incubation period. She has presented with cough, sputum, sore throat and fever since December 9 when she was in the UK. She returned to Hong Kong on December 10 and developed facial swelling and nausea on December 11. She was found confused on December 12 and was taken to Gleneagles Hospital Hong Kong and the Accident and Emergency Department of Queen Mary Hospital (QMH), and was admitted to QMH for treatment on the same day. Her nasopharyngeal swab and blood culture tested positive for influenza A (H1) virus and Group A Streptococcus respectively upon laboratory testing. She is now in critical condition. The preliminary clinical diagnosis cannot rule out the possibility that her condition is related to influenza A infection complicated with shock and further laboratory testing is being conducted.
     The CHP's epidemiological investigations are ongoing.
     A spokesman for the CHP said, "Influenza can cause serious illnesses in high-risk individuals and even healthy persons. Seasonal influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 6 months or above except those with known contraindications. Persons at higher risk of getting influenza and its complications, including the elderly and children, should receive SIV early. As it takes about two weeks to develop antibodies, members of the public are advised to receive SIV early for protection against seasonal influenza. Please see details of the vaccination schemes on the CHP's website."

     A person who gets influenza and COVID-19 at the same time may be more seriously ill and would have a higher risk of death. It is important to receive both SIV and COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible, in particular for children and elderly persons residing in the community or residential care homes. The public should also maintain good personal and environmental hygiene against respiratory illnesses and note the following:
  • Surgical masks can prevent transmission of respiratory viruses from ill persons. It is essential for persons who are symptomatic (even if having mild symptoms) to wear a surgical mask;
  • Wear a surgical mask when taking public transport or staying in crowded places. It is important to wear a mask properly, including performing hand hygiene before wearing and after removing a mask;
  • Avoid touching one's eyes, mouth and nose;
  • 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;
  • Cover the mouth and nose with tissue paper when sneezing or coughing. Dispose of soiled tissue paper properly into a lidded rubbish bin, and wash hands thoroughly afterwards;
  • Maintain good indoor ventilation;
  • When having respiratory symptoms, wear a surgical mask, refrain from work or attending classes at school, avoid going to crowded places and seek medical advice promptly; and
  • Maintain a balanced diet, perform physical activity regularly, take adequate rest, do not smoke and avoid overstress.
     The public may visit the CHP's influenza page and weekly Flu Express for more information.
Ends/Thursday, December 15, 2022
Issued at HKT 20:26
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