85-year-old patient in Shatin Hospital infected with Legionnaires’ disease

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25th February 2021 – (Hong Kong)    The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today investigating a case of Legionnaires’ disease (LD) in Shatin Hospital (SH), and stressed the importance of using and maintaining properly designed man-made water systems, and that susceptible groups should strictly observe relevant precautions.
      
 The male patient, aged 85 with underlying illness, was admitted to SH on 1st February due to medical conditions. He developed fever, cough and yellowish sputum on February 19. His clinical diagnosis was pneumonia. He is currently in serious condition.
      
 His urine specimen was tested positive for Legionella species upon laboratory testing. Initial enquiries revealed that the patient had no travel history in the incubation period.
      
 “Epidemiological investigations with SH are ongoing to identify potential sources of infection, high-risk exposure and clusters, if any. Relevant water samples and environmental swabs will be collected from potential sources for laboratory testing,” a spokesman for the CHP said.
      
 Tracing of contacts including staff and in-patients in ward is ongoing and those identified will be put under medical surveillance. The CHP has provided health advice against LD to staff and in-patients, including those with weakened immunity who should use sterile or boiled water for drinking, tooth brushing and mouth rinsing. Investigation is ongoing.

 The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) will visit the ward and collect water samples from the hospital on February 26. The source of infection for the patient is still being investigated. The patient is currently receiving treatment at the Prince of Wales Hospital. He is in serious condition. Medical surveillance will be performed on patients who have been staying in the ward concerned with the confirmed case at the same time period.
      
 The hospital has already implemented a series of precautionary and infection control improvement measures in the ward concerned, including:
 
1. Suspending use of related basin faucets; and
2. Installing bacterial filters on basin faucets and shower heads

 The case has been reported to the Hospital Authority Head Office according to established guidelines. In addition to the above precautionary and improvement measures, the hospital has reminded all medical and nursing staff to be vigilant and continue to closely monitor the situation of the ward. Moreover, the hospital will co-operate with the CHP in the investigation of the source of infection.
      

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