The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today investigating a fatal case of pediatric enterovirus infection affecting a boy aged 10.

Hong Kong/CIA
Hong Kong/CIA

The patient with good past health has presented with fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath since August 4. He was admitted to Caritas Medical Centre on August 15 and was subsequently transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit of Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) for further management on August 16. He died on August 24.

His clinical diagnosis was encephalitis and his nasopharyngeal aspirate collected by PMH tested positive for enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) by the CHP’s Public Health Laboratory Services Branch (PHLSB) today and positive for Mycoplasma pneumoniae by PMH earlier. Cerebrospinal fluid collected from the patient was also positive for antibody against Mycoplasma pneumoniae by the PHLSB.
“Enquiries revealed that the patient had traveled to Hubei from July 22 to 27 and then to Zhongshan from July 29 to August 4. His home contacts have remained asymptomatic. The case has been referred to the Coroner’s Court for follow-up,” a spokesman for the CHP said.
“To date, no outbreak of communicable disease has been detected so far in the primary school which the patient attended,” the spokesman added.
“Most EV-D68 infections present with respiratory illnesses, particularly in young children. Most illnesses are mild, but some cases may present as severe respiratory illnesses or even deaths. EV-D68 may transmit by droplets and secretions upon coughing and sneezing, or by direct contact of patients’ respiratory secretions,” the spokesman said.
There is no vaccine or antiviral against EV-D68 now. Treatment is mainly supportive. Members of the public are advised to maintain good personal and environmental hygiene and take heed of the following precautions:
* Wash hands before eating and after going to toilet, clearing up vomitus or changing diapers;
* Cover nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing, and proper disposal of nasal and mouth discharge;
* Never share personal items such as towels and eating utensils;
* Maintain good ventilation;
* Clean and disinfect frequently touched surface, furniture and toilets regularly with diluted bleach of 1:99 concentration (mixing 1 part of 5.25 per cent household bleach with 99 parts of water);
* Disinfect toys or places which are contaminated by secretions or excreta with diluted household bleach of 1:49 concentration; and
* Avoid close contact with people who are sick.