The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (April 2) investigating a case of severe paediatric influenza A infection.
The case involves a 7-year-old girl with underlying illnesses, who has presented with cough and runny nose since March 27. She attended the Accident and Emergency Department at Queen Mary Hospital for medical attention on March 29 and was admitted for management. She was transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit of the hospital yesterday for further management.
Her respiratory specimen tested positive for influenza A virus upon laboratory testing. The clinical diagnosis was influenza A infection complicated with severe pneumonia. She is now in a serious condition.
Initial enquiries revealed that the patient had no travel history during the incubation period. Her parents, elder brother and domestic helper developed upper respiratory tract infection symptoms recently and have sought medical attention. They have been in a stable condition and no hospitalisation is required.
The CHP's investigations are ongoing.
"The latest surveillance data showed that the local influenza activity has further decreased to a level approaching the baseline. We urge the community to continue heightening its vigilance against seasonal influenza. As young children are particularly affected in this influenza season, we appeal to parents who have not yet arranged vaccination for their children in this season to do so as soon as possible to strengthen their personal protection," a spokesman for the CHP said.
Apart from children, people aged 50 to 64 years, the elderly and those with underlying illnesses who have not yet received influenza vaccination this season are also urged to get vaccinated as early as possible to prevent seasonal influenza as it takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop in the body after vaccination. Medical advice should be sought promptly if influenza-like symptoms develop so that appropriate treatment can be initiated as early as possible to prevent potential complications. Parents and carers are reminded to render assistance in prevention, care and control for vulnerable people.
Besides receiving seasonal influenza vaccination as early as possible for personal protection, the public should maintain good personal and environmental hygiene for protection against influenza and other respiratory illnesses. For more information, please visit the CHP's influenza page and weekly Flu Express.
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