Hong Kong Reports On Swine Influenza Situation

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A spokesman for the Hong Kong Department of Health said health authorities of the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao convened a teleconference to exchange information on the latest development of human swine influenza as well as to review the need to strengthen surveillance and preventive and control measures.

Meanwhile, leaflets with health messages had been distributed at the airport to passengers from places where human cases of swine influenza were reported.

The spokesman said no human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) infections had been reported in Hong Kong since 2001.

In the 24 hours to 1pm on April 28, four patients fulfilling reporting criteria were reported to the CHP, the spokesman said.

The first one was a 27-year-old woman. She returned to Hong Kong from Vancouver on April 24 and developed symptoms of respiratory infection on the same day. She consulted a private medical practitioner and was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) on April 27. She is now in stable condition.

The second patient was a 52-year-old man who stayed in the United States (New York) from April 18 to 24. He returned to Hong Kong on April 24 and developed symptoms of subjective fever, cough and headache on April 25. He was admitted to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in stable condition.

The third one is a 35-year-old-man who returned to Hong Kong from the United States (New York) on April 27.He developed fever, running nose, sore throat and cough on the same day. He was admitted to Caritas Medical Centre in stable condition.

The last patient, aged 32, returned from New York on April 27. He developed influenza like symptoms since April 13. He was admitted to the PMH in stable condition.

Laboratory results of the specimens taken from the four patients are still pending.

The spokesman advised travellers in the affected places should pay attention to announcements made by the local government and follow health guidelines issued.

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"People who have returned from the affected places should wear a surgical mask for seven days as a precautionary measure.

"If they present with fever, cough, sore throat or have difficulty breathing, they should seek medical attention immediately. They should also inform their doctors about their travel history.

"People should not travel when they are sick and should limit contact with others to prevent the possible spread of infectious diseases," the spokesman said.

The spokesman reminded members of the public to strictly observe the following measures to prevention infection:

* Keep hands clean and wash hands properly. Alcohol-based hand rub is also effective when hands are not visibly soiled;

* Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth;

* Wash hands with liquid soap promptly if they are contaminated by respiratory tract secretions, e.g. after sneezing or coughing;

* Cover nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing and dispose of nasal and mouth discharges properly;

* Always wrap nasal and mouth discharges with tissue paper, and dispose of the tissue paper properly in a lidded rubbish bin;

* Wear a surgical mask when symptoms of respiratory tract infection or fever develop. Seek medical advice promptly;

* Refrain from going to work or school if you develop symptoms of influenza.

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