Winter flu outbreak hits 104 HK schools ‘and more to come’
The virus also hit many kindergartens, childcare centers and primary schools; some are ready to close if the Chinese New Year makes the epidemic worse
An infectious disease specialist has warned that the peak of the winter flu threat is yet to come – despite the fact 104 schools recorded flu outbreaks last week, the highest number since 2014.
The expert expected more cases would occur around the Chinese New Year.
According to the latest surveillance data by the Center for Health Protect, the spread of the flu – predominantly the influenza B virus – has been rising and remains at a high level.
While 104 schools recorded flu outbreaks last week, the virus also hit many kindergartens, childcare centers and primary schools.
Education and health officials fear that more cases will happen after the Chinese New Year holiday when many children will go overseas or back to mainland China for vacation, as they are prone to such illnesses, Apple Daily reported.
Kam Sau-wan, chairperson of the council of non-profit groups working in the pre-primary education sector, said some kindergartens were prepared to close their schools if the flu epidemic intensifies.
Some 95 people have already died from influenza since the beginning of this year, including two children.
HKU bacteriologist Ho Pak-leung said with the cold weather persisting, another round of flu outbreaks might happen around the Chinese New Year holiday.
He advised children to wear face masks when they attend family gatherings during the festive holiday and while using public transport, if they have not vaccinated.