International kindergarten closes after flu outbreak, as government monitors two public school similarly affected
- At least 10 children contacted the illness at the preschool, prompting the immediate closure till next Monday
- At a public kindergarten in Fanling, 24 pupils were struck down, while 21 boys at a primary school in Kowloon City took ill
A privately run kindergarten has been closed after a flu outbreak, while authorities were also monitoring two public schools after dozens of children were stricken with the illness.
Tsing Yi International Kindergarten, run by the privately funded English Schools Foundation (ESF), announced it would close with immediate effect until next Monday.
At least 10 children had contracted flu in the past 24 hours, prompting the drastic step to prevent the spread of illness, according to a local media report.
“Our first priority will always be the health, safety and well-being of the students,” an ESF spokeswoman said. “The decision to close was taken to prevent further spread of the disease among the school community.”
Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said it was investigating two new outbreaks of flu at a kindergarten child care centre in Fanling, in the New Territories, and a primary school in Kowloon City. Both had be placed under medical surveillance by authorities.
The CHP urged parents to heed its advice, if children feel unwell, to seek medical advice and avoid school for at least 48 hours after a fever has subsided.
“It is of prime importance that children with fever, regardless of the presence of respiratory symptoms, should not be allowed to attend school,” the statement said.
At the Fanling kindergarten, 10 boys and 14 girls aged between two and six, were struck down by flu, and so was a female member of staff.
Of the affected students, 23 sought medical attention after developing a fever, cough, sore throat and runny noses since January 4. Six required hospitalisation.
In Kowloon City, 21 boys aged between six and 10 developed similar symptoms. All required medical attention but none needed hospital treatment.
As of Monday, there were 102 cases of severe influenza, 42 of them resulting in death – all adults over the age of 50 – in the latest seasonal flu outbreak, according to Department of Health data issued on Tuesday evening based on the previous day’s reported information.
Some 44 kindergartens and child care centres had been struck by outbreaks of influenza-like illnesses that had been reported up to Monday, sharply down on Saturday, when 87 were affected.
“Hong Kong has entered the 2018-19 winter influenza season. We anticipate that local seasonal influenza activity will continue to rise in the coming weeks and remain at an elevated level for some time. Members of the public should remain vigilant for protection against influenza,” a CHP spokesman said.
Last year’s winter flu season lasted for around 12 weeks, from January to March.
In total, 570 adults suffered from a severe form of flu, 382 cases of which were fatal. Over the same period, 20 children contracted a more serious form of influenza. Two of them died.