Two cases of severe pediatric influenza A infection were reported on Tuesday as public hospitals struggle to cope with a surge of new cases and shortage of doctors during the peak flu season this summer.
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said the latest cases involved a five-year-old girl and nine-month-old boy. Both were infected with influenza A(H3) virus.
The girl, from Dongguan, was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Sunday and transferred to the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) on Monday. The clinical diagnosis was shock, and she is currently in serious condition.
The baby boy was admitted to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital on July 13 and transferred to the hospital’s PICU the following day. He was diagnosed with encephalitis, and is now in stable condition.
“The local seasonal influenza activity has been increasing markedly in the past two weeks and has reached a very high level amid the summer influenza season,” a spokesman for the CHP said.
“It is expected to remain at a high level in the coming weeks. We strongly urge the public, particularly children, the elderly and chronic disease patients to observe strict personal hygiene for better personal protection against the seasonal influenza.”
The Hong Kong Medical Association, meanwhile, said private doctors have recently seen a shortage of Tamiflu, the antiviral medicine for flu treatment. Supplies of the medicine are expected to stabilize by September, Apple Daily reported.
The CHP said the government has about 18.6 million doses of antiviral medicine, 90 percent of which is Tamiflu.
The government will allocate part of its Tamiflu stock to meet the demand in the private healthcare sector.
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