The seasonal influenza situation, primarily caused by H3N2 influenza, has worsened in the past week, according to the latest data from the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today.

generic influenza virion
3D influenza/CDC

Health officials say that last week, 71 cases (54 deaths) with a daily average of 10.1 cases (7.7 deaths) were recorded, compared with 56 cases (43 deaths) with a daily average of eight cases (6.1 deaths) in the previous week.

“Although some surveillance data have continued to decrease for several weeks from peak levels, the overall influenza activity in Hong Kong is still at a high level and is expected to remain so for some time. We also note that the influenza activity in Macau and Taiwan remain at a high level. Continued vigilance is hence warranted,” a spokesman for the CHP said.

During the past 24 hours, nine additional cases of influenza-associated admission to intensive care units or death (including eight deaths) among adults aged 18 or above have been recorded.

This brings the total hospitalized cases and fatalities since the beginning of the year to 439, including 325 deaths. This compares to the flu season in early 2014 when 266 (133 deaths) were filed.

Influenza-like illness (ILI) outbreaks in Hong Kong  in the past four weeks mainly occurred in residential care homes for the elderly (55.3 per cent) and schools (33.3 per cent).