Two more children fall ill with fever at Caritas

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 November, 2004, 12:00am

Two more patients at Caritas Medical Centre have come down with fever and symptoms of a respiratory tracct infection, bringing to 36 the number of children infected in the outbreak at the hospital.

An 11-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl in the Unit for Developmental Disabilities at the Shamshuipo centre developed symptoms of a respiratory infection over the weekend.

It has not yet been confirmed that they are suffering from the same bug, the parainfluenza virus, that infected the other children.

The hospital revealed yesterday that 19 of the 36 children suffering from fever had actually tested positive for the parainfluenza type four virus.

Only one patient still has fever.

University of Hong Kong microbiologists discovered last Thursday that the fever was caused by the parainfluenza virus, almost two weeks after the first incidence.

Four other children who developed fever after their discharge from the hospital were under observation at Princess Margaret Hospital. Only two of them still have fever.

A hospital spokeswoman said their fever was not caused by parainfluenza virus type four.

Such viruses are the second most common cause of acute respiratory illness in children.

According to the World Health Organisation, they are also the leading cause of hospital admissions among adults experiencing community-acquired respiratory disease.

Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food York Chow Yat-ngok ordered a review of Caritas' handling of the outbreak over the weekend, after the hospital was criticised for reacting too slowly to it.

Last week, legislators criticised Caritas hospital staff for taking six days after the first case before reporting the outbreak to the Centre for Health Protection.