Date
19 September 2017
The influenza outbreak in Hong Kong could be more serious than commonly believed, an expert says. Photo: HKEJ
The influenza outbreak in Hong Kong could be more serious than commonly believed, an expert says. Photo: HKEJ

Expert warns of possible under-reporting of flu cases

Serious influenza cases in Hong Kong could be more than the officially reported figure as some patients who were getting treated were not in hospital intensive care units, leaving them out of government data, according to an epidemics expert.

Influenza outbreak will become more serious and could last until March, Dr Ho Pak-Leung, microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong, said in a radio interview on Sunday, Apple Daily reported.

In a latest case, a 16-year-old girl was under intensive care in a Tuen Mun Hospital Sunday after she suffered serious pneumonia. Now, there are at least six serious influenza cases that involve young people under 18, official statistics show.

As for adults, there have been 85 such cases, and 42 of the patients have died.

A study by the Hong Kong University shows that there have been up to 1,000 deaths indirectly due to influenza every year in the past.

Ho said less than one in five citizens take flu shots at the moment and the ratio for medical staff is also only about 20 percent.

He urged medical staff on the frontline to take the shots so that the patients under their care can be protected as well.

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TL/AC/RC

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