The number of people dying of seasonal flu in Hong Kong topped 300 yesterday, as eight more patients succumbed to the virus and experts warned parents to be on their guard. As of last night the total number of deaths related to flu stood at 303 adults and one child, with 410 adults and 17 children having required intensive care. Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man said the number of flu infection cases was decreasing, according the data monitored by the Centre of Health Protection, but that the figures could be misleading. "The decrease may be a result of less people visiting a doctor during Lunar New Year," Ko said yesterday. Urging the public to remain vigilant, he said: "Since schools will resume after the long holiday, we should not lower our guard on the situation," adding that it would take another week or two to determine whether infection numbers go up again. The flu epidemic has in recent weeks stretched intensive care units almost to breaking point, with some doctors forced to work 24-hour shifts to cope with demand. Experts have warned that the epidemic could stretch into April and fears have also been voiced that without adequate vaccine stocks, a second wave of infections could hit Hong Kong in the summer. The dire situation this year was fuelled by the World Health Organisation wrongly predicting that a so-called Texas variant of influenza A subtype H3N2, along with other strains, would be dominant in the northern hemisphere this winter. This led to the distribution of vaccines that have proved to be largely ineffective.