The Centre for Health Protection has announced that from noon yesterday to noon today, 14 new severe adult influenza cases were recorded, including eight deaths.

Hong Kong/CIA
Hong Kong/CIA

An additional death was recorded among the previously reported cases. It brings the total number of severe adult cases to 496, including 370 deaths.

Last week (from March 1 to 7), 57 cases (44 deaths) were recorded. Separately, a daily average of 6.7 cases (5.3 deaths) were filed in the last seven days (from March 5 to 11), compared with 8.3 cases (5.9 deaths) in the preceding seven days (from February 26 to March 4).

Health officials urged people to stay vigilant, get vaccinated early, and maintain good personal and environmental hygiene.

Influenza (flu) is an acute illness of the respiratory tract caused by influenza viruses. In Hong Kong, it is usually more common in periods from January to March and from July to August.

For healthy individuals, seasonal influenza is usually self-limiting with recovery in 2 to 7 days. Symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle pain, fatigue and headache; some may also have vomiting and diarrhoea. Cough is often severe and prolonged but fever and other symptoms generally resolve in 5 to 7 days. However, influenza can be a serious illness to the weak and frail or elderly people, and may be complicated by bronchitis, chest infection or even death. The incubation period ranges from 1 to 4 days. Infected persons may pass the viruses to other people 1 day before and up to 5 to 7 days after they develop symptoms. The period may be even longer in young children or severely immunocompromised persons.