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Flu death toll soars to 13 in first 10 days

Local | Amy Nip Jan 12, 2018
Three more people have died from influenza, taking the death toll to 13 in the first 10 days of the year. There have been 28 serious flu cases this year, and 19 of the victims were hit by Influenza B.

A three-year-old girl in United Christian Hospital is the only serious case among children. She

is in critical condition, suffering from complication of encephalopathy. She did not receive a flu vaccination.

Kowloon Hospital yesterday announced three patients aged 75 to 83 in a male respiratory medical ward have displayed fever and respiratory symptoms since January 8.

They tested positive for Influenza A. The patients are being treated in isolation. One patient is in critical condition, and the others are in stable condition. Restricted visiting hours have been imposed at the ward.

Infection control measures have already been stepped up, and all other patients in the ward are under close surveillance. This comes as doctors called for the public, especially children, to receive vaccinations.

Hong Kong microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung said statistics so far show Influenza B is the dominant virus, although it remains unclear which strain.

The flu situation on the mainland is also serious, and Hong Kong could be affected by it, he warned.

Owen Tsang Tak-Yin, medical director of the Hospital Authority's infectious disease center, said a range of five to 10 percent of the population will be infected with the flu during the peak period.

High risk groups include children, pregnant women and the elderly, who are more prone to serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis.

Mortality rate of influenza B is about two to three percent, which is lower than Influenza A. However, it is still deadly to the elderly, with a mortality rate of six percent, Tsang cautioned.

Amy Nip

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October 2018