Ten more people died of flu in Hong Kong Friday, bringing the death toll from the epidemic to 341 since the beginning of the year, according to the Center for Health Protection. In the last winter season in early 2014, 133 deaths were filed.
[March 2, 2015] Man, 61, dies of H7N9 bird flu
A 61-year-old Hong Kong man died Sunday after falling ill with H7N9 bird flu. He contracted the virus in the southern mainland city of Dongguan. Five health workers who helped care for him in the Lady MacLehose Holiday Village, which houses a temporary quarantine facility, have been placed in isolation but have not shown any symptoms. [More]
[Feb. 13, 2015] Three more HK kids hospitalized for severe flu
Three Hong Kong children were sent to hospital with severe flu Thursday, bringing the number of cases among children in the present outbreak to 14. No child has died of the flu so far, data from the city’s Centre for Health Protection shows. [More]
[Feb. 12, 2015] 20% more children hospitalized for flu in HK
Three in every 10,000 children aged under five in Hong Kong were hospitalized for flu in the first week of this month. That was up 20 percent from the last week of January. The admission rate for the elderly, on the other hand, fell to 3.76 in 10,000 from 5.46. [More]
[Feb. 11, 2015] Flu claims 12 more lives in HK, taking toll to 157 this year
Dr. Chan Kay-sheung, dean of the department of microbiology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said that this year the virus has clearly done more damage to people aged 65 or older than to children and others who are younger. [More]
[Feb. 6, 2015] As flu toll mounts, experts urge more precautions
Yuen Kwok-yung from Hong Kong University’s microbiology department has urged senior citizens, pregnant women, people with chronic ailments and those having a history of being vulnerable to virus attacks to wear face-masks when going out in the public in Hong Kong. Such “people at high risk” made up 99 percent of the death toll in the city’s latest flu outbreak. [More]
[Feb. 5, 2015] Flu death toll could rise to 600, expert says
The flu outbreak in Hong Kong may not have peaked, and the death toll could increase to five times the 118 at present, according to a leading expert in infectious diseases.
Professor Yuen Kwok-yung of the department of microbiology at the University of Hong Kong said as many as 600 people in the city may die as the epidemic spreads.
The previous record for a flu outbreak was in 2005, when an estimated 1,100 people died.
Whether it is necessary for the government to take special measures to fight the flu depends on whether there is a significant increase in the death rate for vulnerable groups, the number of young people admitted to intensive care and the proportion of patients in intensive care, Yuen said.
The situation is not that serious yet, he said.
Nine more flu patients were placed in intensive care units Wednesday. Seven patients, aged between 79 and 103, died.
So far, the death rate is 3 percent, close to the 3.1 percent for all of last year but higher than the 2 percent in 2013, data from the Hospital Authority’s Infectious Disease Center showed.
Dr. Ho Pak-Leung, a microbiologist at the university, said obstacles hindering efforts to curb the outbreak include the low protection provided by available vaccines and low vaccination coverage among the public.
As a result, it is possible that repeated outbreaks could occur for five or six months and may not end until June — as in 2004, 2005 and 2007, when a mutant of the H3N2 virus emerged in a similar way, Ho said.
Professor Gabriel Matthew Leung, HKU’s dean of medicine, urged citizens not to panic, as the epidemic is not out of control, and urged people with flu symptoms to get treatment as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Secretary for Food and Health Dr. Ko Wing-man was uncertain about whether it would be a good idea to urge everyone in the city to wear a mask.
Ko said that would create social isolation.
“Just like during SARS, people wouldn’t make close contact or even shake hands,” he said.
[Go to the Centre for Health Protection]
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