Daily infection count may be dropped

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 August, 2009, 12:00am

The government will re-examine the necessity of announcing daily swine flu figures, the health minister said yesterday.

The administration was assessing hospital admissions, severe cases and deaths, instead of the number of infections, Secretary for Health York Chow Yat-ngok said.

He added that the World Health Organisation had said infection data was not useful in reflecting the severity of the flu's effects.

Meanwhile, a baby girl born by Caesarean section to a 23-year-old mother infected with swine flu was cleared of having the infection yesterday. The mother, who was confirmed with the virus on Friday, was still under intensive care in Tuen Mun Hospital yesterday.

The woman was admitted to hospital on Thursday, but her condition deteriorated on Friday and the baby was delivered as a precaution. The baby's condition was stable.

Although the baby did not catch flu from her mother, Dr Chow said it was possible that the virus could travel through the placenta and infect the child.

He said 30 per cent of severe cases so far had involved no other high-risk illnesses or pre-existing conditions. Of the 95 patients currently in hospital, 11 are in serious condition and five are critical, according to the Hospital Authority.

The latest critical case involves an 86-year-old woman in Princess Margaret Hospital who also has heart disease. She is being treated with Tamiflu and antibiotics.

A total of 271 new cases were confirmed yesterday, bringing the total to 9,105.

A 10-year-old boy, who is a resident at a special school in Tai Po, was confirmed with the flu yesterday and his condition was critical last night. His nine-year-old and 10-year-old schoolmates had earlier been hit by the virus.

People who have had close contact with the children are being treated with Tamiflu.