Caritas patients, staff infected with respiratory virus HMPV

May 02, 2019 16:32
Caritas Medical Centre said four of its patients tested positive for HMPV, while two of the four were also found to have contracted the influenza A virus. Photo: HKEJ

Several patients and staff at Caritas Medical Centre have contracted the human metapneumovirus (HMPV), which can cause acute respiratory tract infections, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

A spokesperson for the Cheung Sha Wan public hospital said seven of its patients, aged 4 to 18, who are staying at the Developmental Disabilities Unit because of chronic illnesses, and four of its healthcare staff have developed symptoms of fever and upper respiratory infection since April 20.

Laboratory tests have revealed that four of the patients were positive for HMPV, the spokesperson said, adding that two of the four also tested positive for influenza A virus.

Caritas said the infected patients are being treated under isolation, while three of the four healthcare staff are currently on sick leave.

The hospital has informed the relatives of the patients about the situation and reported the cases to the Hospital Authority head office and the Centre for Health Protection for follow-up.

Infection control measures have been enhanced in the affected ward, and all other patients and staff in the ward are under close surveillance, the hospital said.

HMPV, a single-stranded RNA (ribonucleic acid) virus, can cause upper respiratory infections in people of all ages but is most common in children, particularly under the age of 5.

Symptoms include runny nose, nasal congestion, cough, sore throat, headache, and fever, while a very small number of people may experience shortness of breath, according to the website of the American Lung Association.

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