A five-year-old boy has become the second child to die after being diagnosed with the influenza-B virus this year, while health officials investigate two other possible cases.
The boy, surnamed Chiu, had developed a fever, runny nose, cough, vomiting and abdominal pain on January 23, Apple Daily reported.
He was sent to Yan On Hospital in Sha Tin in the New Territories on Wednesday night and died at 6:48am on Thursday.
According to a statement from the Health Department’s Center for Health Protection, the boy had not been vaccinated against flu.
Chiu studied at Anchors Kindergarten in Fanling in the New Territories and classes at the kindergarten have been suspended for a week while the premises are disinfected.
The second case involves a six-year-old girl who had previously been in good health. After falling ill on January 13 with a fever, cough, vomiting and shortness of breath, she was admitted to Kwong Wah Hospital on January 20.
The girl was later transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) for closer medical care after being diagnosed with an influenza B infection complicated with severe pneumonia. She is currently in a stable condition. Her younger brother recently had symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection and is also in a stable condition.
The girl attended SKH Lee Shiu Keung Primary School in Kowloon’s Lam Tin, where there had been an influenza B outbreak. Aside from the girl, ten students aged six to seven had developed symptoms of an influenza-like illness but none of them needed to be sent to hospital.
The third case is another five-year-old boy who developed fever and a cough on January 19. He was brought to Kwong Wah Hospital on January 22 and developed shortness of breath, confusion and drowsiness. He was diagnosed with an influenza B infection complicated with encephalopathy and invasive pneumococcal disease. He is now in a serious condition in the intensive care unit.
A Center for Health Protection spokesman said local seasonal influenza activity has risen markedly over the past two weeks to a high level and may increase further in coming weeks.
In view of the expected arrival of a cold front next week, the CHP strongly advised the public to observe strict personal, hand and environmental hygiene for better personal protection.