The Center for Health Protection (CHP) urged Hongkongers to be vigilant and get vaccinated early against seasonal influenza amid signs of a flu outbreak in the city, Ming Pao Daily reported Thursday.
In a report released Wednesday, the CHP said 70 influenza patients aged 18 or over had been hospitalized for intensive care since Jan. 2, of whom 31 had died.
Hong Kong has entered a peak flu period, and people should maintain strict personal hygiene, wear a mask when respiratory symptoms develop and avoid going to crowded places, the CHP said.
Among respiratory specimens received by the CHP’s laboratories, the proportion that tested positive for flu viruses rose to 29.03 percent last week from 9.22 percent in the week to Dec. 27.
Over 90 percent of the viruses detected were of the A type (H3N2).
Taiwan is also experiencing a flu outbreak. The percentage of samples that tested positive for flu viruses on the island rose to 11.8 percent at the end of December from 3.7 percent two weeks earlier.
A CHP spokesman urged Hongkongers to wash or clean their hands frequently, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes, or after touching handrails or door knobs.
Dr. Tsang Tak-yin of the Hong Kong Society for Infectious Diseases said about one in five of the patients warded in the city’s public hospitals at the moment have the flu.
The elderly, children and those with weakened immune systems should wear masks at all times when going to public places, he said.
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