Preschool steps up cleanliness after five-year-old dies from flu

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 March, 2009, 12:00am

A kindergarten has stepped up its cleaning and disinfection work after a five-year-old pupil died on Wednesday after catching flu.

Lo Sze-pui, who is in charge of the Spastics Association Shek Kip Mei Preschool Centre, said everyone was saddened by the death; the boy had attended the school for two years.

'The little boy's heath had not been good. He had to stay home sick sometimes, as he had a history of spinal muscular atrophy, a chronic neuromuscular disorder, and his immune system was weaker than others'. He had to be carried around in a baby pram,' she said. 'His parents are in deep grief, as his death came so suddenly.

'We have stepped up cleaning and disinfection to get ready for school, which will resume on March 10.'

Twelve students and three staff members of the school have developed influenza-like symptoms since February 25. Classes were suspended for a week from Tuesday.

The boy developed a fever and cough on February 26, despite having received a flu vaccination. He was admitted to Yan Chai Hospital on Wednesday and died in the afternoon.

There are 54 pupils at the centre, and Ms Lo said they would avoid group activities once school resumed. 'We will keep the children in small groups of eight and will hold some seminars for parents to inform them about what happened in the fatal case.'

Ellis Hon Kam-lun, associate professor of paediatrics at Chinese University, said it was very difficult to take care of children with chronic neuromuscular disorder.

'Some children can only survive for a few years, in serious cases ... Vaccination can help strengthen protection against influenza, but infection or other illnesses can lead to death faster,' he said.