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Hong Kong influenza activity drops notably: health department

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-08-09 19:30

HONG KONG -- The seasonal influenza activity in Hong Kong and influenza admissions to public hospitals continued to decrease in recent consecutive weeks, the health department of the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) reported Wednesday.

"Our latest surveillance data show that, after its peak in mid-July, the influenza activity has been on the decline as most parameters including laboratory surveillance, influenza-associated hospital admissions and institutional outbreaks have been decreasing in the past two to three weeks," said a spokesman for the Center for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health.

The positive percentage of seasonal influenza viruses among respiratory specimens received by the CHP peaked at 40.86 percent in the week of July 9 and further dropped from 35.52 to 25.28 percent from the week of July 23 to that of July 30.

In the same period, the number of institutional outbreaks of influenza-like illness substantially decreased from 39 (affecting 222 persons) to 15 (affecting 73 persons).

As of Tuesday, three outbreaks affecting 12 persons have been recorded this week.

The average daily number of influenza cases admitted to public hospitals peaked at 350 per day in the seven-day period from July 11 to July 17 and then steadily decreased to 135 per day recently.

Regarding severe influenza cases, in adults, 474 cases of influenza-associated admission to the Intensive Care Unit or death, including 337 deaths, were recorded from May 5 to Tuesday, as compared with 647 cases (501 deaths) and 409 cases (211 deaths) recorded during the winter influenza seasons in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

In children, from May 5 to Tuesday, 19 cases of severe influenza-associated complication or death, including three deaths, were detected.

The average daily number of severe cases among all ages peaked at 11.3 per day in the seven-day period from July 12 to July 18 and then gradually decreased to 7.9 per day recently.

"As observed in previous seasons, we expect that local influenza will still be active for some time as it normally takes about two to three months for influenza activity to return to baseline from the peak," said the spokesman.

"Influenza is also active in the temperate Southern Hemisphere, parts of Southeast Asia, southern provinces in the Chinese mainland, Macao and Taiwan. We again advise members of the public and travellers to stay vigilant and calm and not panic as strict personal, hand and environmental hygiene remain the most effective means against influenza," the spokesman added.

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