The health department’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) issued a fresh flu alert on Tuesday as it announced that it is investigating two cases of severe paediatric influenza A in the city.
It urged the public, particularly young children, to get vaccinated promptly and observe strict hand, personal and environmental hygiene amid the winter influenza season.
Children, the elderly and those with chronic diseases should promptly seek medical advice if they detect influenza-like symptoms, CHP said in a statement.
The agency said it is looking into two cases of severe paediatric influenza A.
In one of the cases, a 3-year-old girl developed fever, cough and runny nose and was admitted to Tseung Kwan O Hospital before she developed gastrointestinal bleeding and shock on Sunday.
The child was then transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for further treatment, and is now in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) there.
The other patient is a boy, aged 8 with good past health, who developed fever, cough and runny nose on February 6.
He was admitted to a private hospital on February 11 and was then transferred to the PICU of Kwong Wah Hospital on the same day. He was transferred to a general ward on Monday and is now in stable condition.
Ming Pao Daily reported that public hospitals in the city have seen supply of beds in pediatric wards fall short of demand, suggesting that more children are falling ill.
As of noon Tuesday, the average occupancy rate of those wards reached 116 percent, suggesting 755 beds available were shared by 877 children who were hospitalized, a pediatrician at a public hospital was quoted as saying.
Ming Pao found that the rate in almost every hospital has exceeded 100 percent, except for Caritas Medical Centre, where the occupancy rate stood at about 80 percent.
Eastern Hospital topped the list with a rate of 154 percent, followed by Tuen Mun Hospital with 149 percent. The rates at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and United Christian Hospital were 114 and 115 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, the average occupancy rate at the pediatric intensive care units of public hospitals was also as high as 127 percent.
Some doctors said they expect to see more children seek treatment for flu symptoms in the coming days.
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