Chronically ill girl, 7, dies of flu soon after admission to hospital
A seven-year-old girl with a chronic illness yesterday became the latest flu fatality, dying hours after she was admitted to hospital, but it is not certain whether she had swine flu.
There have been six confirmed deaths from swine flu in the city.
The girl had a high fever and cramps when she was admitted to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan early yesterday, and was later pronounced dead.
She was confirmed to be infected with influenza A late yesterday, the Centre for Health Protection said. The case had been referred to the coroner, and further tests were needed to determine with which strain she was infected.
Two other patients with flu died after being admitted to intensive care in public hospitals over the weekend - it is not certain whether they had swine flu. Excluding these three people, four other public hospital patients with flu were admitted to intensive care in the past 48 hours.
Meanwhile, four institutions reported outbreaks of flu, involving 18 people. The centre urged that young children, elderly people, chronically ill patients and pregnant women be vaccinated against flu as soon as possible.
More than 362,000 people had received the jabs under the government's subsidised scheme, it said.
Hong Kong entered the peak flu infection period last month and would remain so until late March, centre controller Dr Thomas Tsang Ho-fai said.
In the past few weeks, a rising number of people with flu visited a doctor. Between January 23 and 29, an average of 71.3 flu cases per 1,000 consultations were recorded at private clinics.
This was 4 per cent higher than the number of cases recorded between January 16 and 22, an average of 68.5. From January 9 to 15, only 49.8 per 1,000 consultations were recorded.
Hospital admission rates among young children also rose. Between January 23 and 29, 3.96 out of every 10,000 children aged 0 to four were admitted to hospital with flu. In the week before, the rate was 2.64. This compares to 1.36 between January 9 and 15.
A rising number of people with flu have visited a doctor
Between January 23 and 29, an average of this number of cases per 1,000 visits were recorded at private clinics: 71.3