The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health investigated a serious case of influenza A infection in a child, involving a 21-month-old baby girl who was previously in good health, and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of Princess Margaret Hospital for diagnosis and treatment.

Princess Margaret Hospital. (File photo)

According to the Centre for Health Protection, a 21-month-old baby girl, who had been in good health before, developed fever and runny nose from October 10 and was admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (CIU) of Princess Margaret Hospital on the same day due to worsening symptoms. The patient's respiratory specimen was tested positive for influenza A(H30) virus. The clinical diagnosis was influenza A complicated by shock. The patient has improved and is currently in stable condition.

Preliminary investigation by the Centre for Protection revealed that the patient did not travel outside during the incubation period. Her household contacts are currently asymptomatic. The CFS is continuing its investigation. The CFS reminds all sectors of the community to stay vigilant that the seasonal influenza vaccination programme has commenced, and appeals to the public to receive free seasonal influenza vaccination.

A spokesman for the CFS pointed out that influenza vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent seasonal influenza and its complications, as influenza vaccination can cause severe illness in high-risk groups and healthy individuals, as well as reduce the number of hospitalisation and death due to influenza. Seasonal influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 6 months or above, except for a few individuals with known contraindications.

The CFS added that patients with both influenza and COVID-19 are more likely to have serious complications and death, and that influenza vaccination is as important as COVID-19 vaccination, especially for children, elderly people in the community and elderly people living in residential care homes. As it takes about two weeks for the human body to produce antibodies after vaccination, members of the public are advised to get vaccinated as early as possible to prevent seasonal influenza.

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