TWELVE people died of seasonal flu last Wednesday, including a 60-year-old customs officer – the highest death toll in a single day this year.
Between noon on 2 January and noon on 3 February, 178 adults aged 18 or over were admitted to intensive care units, of which 111 died, the Centre for Health Protection (衛生防護中心) said. In the same period, 11 youths under 18 were admitted with severe flu-associated complications. None died.
The dominant influenza strain for both groups was H3N2, which has undergone a ‘drift’ change this winter – making the flu vaccine less effective.
The centre is also investigating two outbreaks of influenza-like illness. The first outbreak involved 20 pupils, aged three to six, at Hong Kong Ling Liang Church Kindergarten (香港靈糧堂幼稚園 ) in Causeway Bay (銅鑼灣). They have had fevers, coughs and sore throats since January 18.
All sought medical consultation but none required hospitalisation. The nasopharyngeal swab of a pupil tested positive for H3N2.
The second outbreak involved 21 students, aged six to 12, of Ma Tau Chung Government Primary School (馬頭涌官立小學) in Hung Hom (紅磡). They showed symptoms since January 23, and all sought medical attention. Again none required hospitalisation.
University of Hong Kong (香港大學) microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung (袁國勇) said the peak period of the flu season will last for another four to six weeks and stabilise after next month.
(The Standard, 4 February 2015)