8-year-old girl infected with influenza A passes away at Kwong Wah Hospital

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20th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of Hong Kong’s Department of Health is currently investigating the death of an 8-year-old girl from influenza A, stressing the importance of vaccination amid rising community concerns. The girl, previously in good health, succumbed to the virus after a rapid decline in her condition, highlighting the potential severity of the flu.

The young patient began exhibiting symptoms of fever and cough on 17th April and developed convulsions the following day. She was promptly taken to the Accident and Emergency Department at Kwong Wah Hospital, where she was tested and found positive for the influenza A (H1) virus. Despite immediate medical attention, her condition worsened, leading to her death later that day.

Preliminary investigations by the CHP have determined that the girl had not received her seasonal influenza vaccination (SIV) for the current flu season. Additionally, she had no recent travel history that could have been linked to her exposure to the virus. Currently, her family members, who have been in close contact with her, remain asymptomatic as health authorities continue to monitor the situation.

A CHP spokesman emphasised the critical role of vaccinations in preventing influenza and its serious complications. “Influenza can cause serious illnesses among high-risk groups and even in healthy individuals,” he noted. “Seasonal influenza vaccination is highly effective in preventing the virus and reducing the number of related hospitalisations and fatalities.”

The CHP strongly recommends that everyone aged six months and older, especially children and the elderly who are at greater risk, should get vaccinated early in the flu season. It takes about two weeks post-vaccination for antibodies to develop and provide protection against the virus.