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Five new imported cases of human swine influenza

Five new imported cases of human swine influenza
A spokesman for the Department of Health (DH) today (June 7) said the department was investigating five newly confirmed cases of human swine influenza (Influenza A H1N1).

This brings to 38 the total number of human swine influenza cases in Hong Kong. All of them are imported cases.

The first newly confirmed case involved a 20-year-old man studying in London. He returned to Hong Kong on June 4 by taking a flight of British Airways (flight no. BA27). He lives in South Bay Garden, Southern District. He had onset of headache and fever in the evening of June 5. He sought medical attention at a private clinic in Admiralty on June 6 and was transferred to Queen Mary Hospital by ambulance.

His home contacts are asymptomatic

The second case is a 32-year-old man who arrived in Hong Kong on June 6 from Manila by taking a flight of Dragonair (flight no. KA912). He developed fever, runny nose and cough on the flight. He sat in row 24 of the flight and had put on a mask during the journey. He declared cough in the health declaration form and was screed to have fever at the airport. He was taken to Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) by ambulance.

The third case involved a 14-year-old boy studying in San Francisco. He came to Hong Kong with two elder sisters by a flight of Cathay Pacific (flight no. CX 873) and arrived at about 6.30am today. He sat in row 59 and put on a mask on the flight. He declared to have sore throat in the health declaration form. He was taken to PMH by ambulance.

The fourth case involved a 21-year-old woman who travelled from Los Angeles to Seoul on June 4. She travelled from Seoul to Hong Kong by taking a flight of Korean Airline (flight no KE603) in the morning of June 5. She sat in row 48 of the flight.

The woman went by taxi from the Airport to her office in China Hong Kong City, Tsim Sha Tsui before returning to her home in Nam Shan Estate by the same taxi. She had onset of cough in the late evening of the same day and sore throat in the morning of June 6. As she felt myalgia and worsening cough later, she left her office and sought medical consultation at a private clinic near her home by taxi. She was advised by the private doctor to go to hospital.

The woman, accompanied by her mother, went to Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) by taxi. She was admitted for isolation.

Her mother is currently asymptomatic.

The fifth case involved a 23-year-old woman. She stayed in Manila since February this year. She developed cough and fever on May 31. Her symptoms improved after taking self medication. She and a friend arrived in Hong Kong today by taking a flight of CEBU Pacific (flight 5J108). She sat in row 20. Upon arrival, she declared cough on the health declaration form and was referred by Port Health Office to PMH for isolation.

Her friend also had some respiratory symptoms on May 31 and recovered before travelling to Hong Kong.

Laboratory analysis on respiratory samples taken from the five patients yielded positive results for human swine influenza today.

DH is now tracing passengers sitting in rows 22-27 of KA912 arrived in Hong Kong on June 6, those sitting in rows 56-62 of CX873 arrived in Hong Kong on June 7, those sitting in rows 45-51 of KE603 arrived in Hong Kong on June 5, and those sitting on rows 17-23 of 5J108 arrived in Hong Kong on June 7, and crew members of the flights concerned who had served the affected sections of the cabins concerned as well as other close contact of the five patients.

Passengers who had travelled on the concerned flights are urged to call the DH hotline 2125 1111.

As the first patient had onset of symptoms more than 12 hours after arriving Hong Kong, the Centre for Health Protection would not trace the passengers of the flight concerned.

The spokesman urged the taxi drivers who took a 21-year-old woman from the airport to her office in China Hong Kong City and then took her from her office to her home in Nam Shan Estate around noon of June 5, or who took the woman from her office to Nam Shan Estate at about 10.45am of June 6, or who took her and her mother from Nam Shan Estate to QEH at about 11.30am of June 6 to call the hotline.

Investigations into the five cases are ongoing.

Meanwhile, the spokesman called on members of the public to advise their children, relatives or friends coming to Hong Kong from abroad to defer their trips if they developed symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat.

"To protect their own health and that of other travellers, they should seek medical attention where they are.

"If they feel unwell on the plane, they should wear a face mask and inform cabin crew immediately," the spokesman said.

Ends/Sunday, June 7, 2009