20th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is currently investigating two cases of severe pediatric influenza A infection. These developments serve as a reminder to the community to remain vigilant against the influenza virus.
The first case involves a 5-year-old girl with a previously good health record. She began experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, and vomiting since 18th September. On 19th September, she sought medical attention at St. Teresa’s Hospital. As her symptoms worsened, she was transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital today and admitted to the paediatric intensive care unit for treatment. Laboratory testing confirmed the presence of influenza A (H3) virus in her respiratory specimen. The clinical diagnosis indicated influenza A infection complicated with encephalitis. Her condition is currently critical, although her home contacts remain asymptomatic.
The second case involves a 9-year-old boy with a history of asthma. He started experiencing symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, and vomiting since 17th September. On 19th September, he was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit at Prince of Wales Hospital for treatment. Similar to the first case, laboratory testing confirmed the presence of influenza A (H3) virus in his respiratory specimen. The clinical diagnosis revealed influenza A infection complicated with severe pneumonia. The boy’s condition is critical, and one of his home contacts is currently displaying symptoms.
Preliminary investigations conducted by the CHP indicate that neither patient had a history of travel during the incubation period. The CHP continues its ongoing investigations into these cases.
It is crucial for the community to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions against influenza. The CHP advises individuals to practice good personal hygiene, including frequent handwashing, wearing masks when necessary, and maintaining a clean environment. Vaccination against influenza is also strongly recommended, particularly for high-risk groups such as young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and individuals with underlying health conditions.
The CHP will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates as further information becomes available. It is important for the public to stay informed and follow the advice and guidelines provided by health authorities to minimize the spread of influenza and protect the well-being of the community.