16 February 2019
The flu outbreak has claimed only adults as fatalities so far. Photo: HKEJ
The flu outbreak has claimed only adults as fatalities so far. Photo: HKEJ

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.

However, nine more adults died of flu Thursday, pushing this year’s death toll to 173.

Among them, eight were newly reported cases. Meanwhile, one new adult case of severe flu was reported.

The three children, aged between three and nine, have flu-related complications — acute encephalitis, severe pneumonia and encephalopathy, respectively. All are in stable condition.

Two of the three children’s nose and throat swabs tested positive for influenza A (H3). None had been vaccinated.

One of the patients, a nine-year-old boy, had good health in the past. He has suffered from fever, cough and runny nose since Feb. 4.

After he developed a dull demeanor, with muttering and poor appetite, he was taken to the accident and emergency department of Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Feb. 11 and transferred to the paediatric intensive care unit the same day.

Two people at his home have upper respiratory symptoms, while the remaining person is asymptomatic.

Professor Hon Kam-lun of the department of paediatrics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong was quoted as saying by Apple Daily Friday that intensive care units in Hong Kong receive about 20-40 children with flu every year, so the situation at present is not abnormal.

However he said parents should take babies to the doctor immediately if any flu-related symptoms, like fever, appear.

Hon said parents should not give medicines to their children without a doctor’s prescription, because many medicines contain salicylic acid, which increases the risk of encephalitis if taken by flu patients.

He also warned parents not to take their children, especially those with heart or respiratory disease, to crowded or poorly ventilated public places.

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