Hong Kong Watches Parainfluenza Outbreak In Child Care Center

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The Centre for Health Protection of the Hong Kong Department of Health urged members of the public and management of institutions to take preventive measures against influenza-like illness (ILI) by observing strict environmental and personal hygiene.

The appeal was made following CHP's investigation into a report of parainfluenza outbreak in a child care centre, affecting a total of 18 children.

The centre concerned is SKH St. Thomas' Child Care Centre in Shek Kip Mei, which had been closed earlier to avoid the spread of human swine influenza (Influenza A H1N1)in the centre. Yet, the centre still provided day care service to around 60 children who are in need.

The affected comprised 12 males and six females, aged between five months and three years.

They developed symptoms of ILI, including fever, cough, runny nose and sore throat between July 14 and 28.

Among them, five were admitted to hospital in stable condition. Another 12 children sought medical treatment and did not require hospitalization.

The nasopharyngeal aspirate (NPA) specimen taken from a hospitalized case was tested positive to parainfluenza virus.

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A CHP spokesman said, "In view of an increased number of sick children, CHP advised the centre to reinforce infection control measures."

CHP officials have conducted field visit to the centre and provided health advice to the staff.

To prevent respiratory tract infection, the public are advised to adopt the following measures:

* Build up good body immunity by having a proper diet, regular exercise and adequate rest, reducing stress and avoiding smoking;

* Maintain good personal hygiene, wash hands after sneezing or coughing, and wear a mask when having symptoms of respiratory tract infection;

* Maintain good ventilation; and

* Avoid visiting crowded places with poor ventilation.

Members of the public, particularly children, elderly people and those with chronic diseases, should wear face masks and consult doctors promptly if they develop symptoms of respiratory tract infection.

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