Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hong Kong: A ConFLUence Of Events

Credit HK CHP


As we've been discussing the past couple of weeks, Hong Kong is in the midst of an unusual early summer flu epidemic (see Hong Kong's Flu Surge Continues, Taiwan Reporting Increased Activity). 
While Hong Kong often sees a second yearly flu season, it usually arrives in late July or August, not in early May. 

As of last Friday's Flu Express report, Hong Kong has reported 42 severe influenza cases, and 25 deaths since May 5th.  Over the weekend, Hong Kong authorities have reported a couple of new institutional outbreaks, along with two more severe pediatric cases.
Cluster of Influenza A cases at Siu Lam Hospital
CHP investigates case of severe paediatric influenza A infection
CHP investigates influenza-like illness outbreak at primary school in Wan Chai
CHP investigates case of severe paediatric influenza A infection

Complicating matters, all this week Hong Kong is celebrating Duanwu - or the Dragon Boat Festival - which will see large crowds of revelers gathered in close quarters to partake in parades, eating, drinking traditional Realgar wine, and watching the Dragon Boat races.

A pretty good venue to spread influenza. 

A point which is made in the following news article. 

The flu epidemic is late in the afternoon

2017-05-30 16:39 United Daily News reporter Huang Anqi / real-time report

In previous years, the flu to the end of May, one after another from the epidemic period, this year, the epidemic did not stop too late. According to the statistics of the Department of Health, the Dragon Boat Festival will be associated with more than the first two months of the outbreak, and the epidemic is more than the first two months, To remind people to have flu-like symptoms by physician assessment can use antiviral drugs, reduce the risk of concurrent and infection.
        (Continue . . . )

And as Hong Kong's Secretary of Food & Health Dr. Ko Wing-man reminds us, the effects of last year's flu shots are likely waning, and since the new flu shot hasn't arrived yet, the number of cases may well continue to rise.

Raise vigilance against summer flu

May 30, 2017

The Secretary for Food and Health, Mr Kwok Wing-wen, said that influenza cases have continued to rise and that the peak of influenza in summer has already begun. Members of the public should be vigilant and keep personal and public health at all times.

Speaking to the media today, Mr Kwong said that the influenza cases had risen and the number of serious cases had increased. The authorities would closely monitor high-risk groups, especially children, the elderly and chronic diseases.

He pointed out that the end of last year vaccination of winter influenza vaccine, may gradually fail, and this summer's influenza vaccination program has not yet started, during which the public should pay attention to personal and public health, to prevent infection.
How much of an impact this Dragon Boat Festival will have on this outbreak remains to be seen, but it would seem that the ingredients are there to make for a very interesting summer flu season.

And as an international city, what happens in Hong Kong isn't guaranteed to stay in Hong Kong.

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