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CHP investigates outbreak of acute gastroenteritis at primary school in Stanley
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (March 16) investigating an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) at a primary school in Stanley, and hence reminded the public and management of institutions to maintain personal and environmental hygiene against AGE.

     The outbreak involves 21 students, comprising 18 males and three females aged 11 to 12. Seven of them sought medical attention and none required hospitalisation. 

     According to the CHP's epidemiological investigation, all students involved in the outbreak are Grade six boarding students. Four of them developed diarrhoea and vomiting earliest in the evening of March 14, and a student had vomited in the male session of the dormitory. Other boarding students developed vomiting and diarrhoea from March 15 to 16.  For the sake of prudence, officers of the CHP have conducted a site visit this afternoon together with officers of the Centre for Food Safety of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, and the preliminary assessment on the food production environment hygiene of the school was considered satisfactory.

     As the onset dates of affected students span over a few days, and no unusual sick pattern was notified among non-boarding students who consumed common food, the initial investigation of the CHP suggested that there was an outbreak of AGE with a higher chance of person-to-person transmission or environmental contamination and the chance of involving food poisoning is relatively low.

     The Centre for Health Protection has provided health advice to the staff of the school concerning proper and thorough disinfection, proper disposal of vomitus, and personal and environmental hygiene. The school has been put under medical surveillance.

     Investigations are ongoing.

     A spokesman for the CHP advised members of the public to take heed of the following preventive measures against gastroenteritis:
     • Ensure proper personal hygiene;
     • Wash hands thoroughly before handling food and eating, after using the toilet or after changing diapers;
     • Wear gloves when disposing of vomitus or faecal matter, and wash hands afterwards;
     • Clean and disinfect contaminated areas or items promptly and thoroughly with diluted household bleach (by adding one part of bleach containing 5.25 per cent sodium hypochlorite to 49 parts of water). Wash hands thoroughly afterwards;
     • Maintain good indoor ventilation;
     • Pay attention to food hygiene;
     • Use separate utensils to handle raw and cooked food;
     • Avoid food that is not thoroughly cooked;
     • Drink boiled water; and
     • Do not patronise unlicensed food premises or food stalls.
     The public may visit the CHP's website (www.chp.gov.hk) or call the DH's Health Education Infoline (2833 0111) for more information.
Ends/Thursday, March 16, 2023
Issued at HKT 19:57
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