Flu claims 3rd child
By Joseph Li
Updated: 2008-03-12 07:16

HONG KONG: The government has ruled out a citywide school suspension despite the death of a third child from influenza.

The government has also set up an expert group to probe the deaths related to the epidemic that recently surfaced.

Seven-year-old Law Ho-ming died around noon yesterday at Tuen Mun Hospital.

He was the third victim of a recent flu outbreak and had been showing signs of serious encephalitis and brain swelling before his death.

Law and 3-year-old girl Ho Po-yi, the first victim in the outbreak, were both admitted to Tuen Mun Hospital before they passed away.

The other victim, a two-year-old boy with a fever and cough, died at Prince of Wales Hospital 17 hours after admission last month.

A total of 35 pupils from STFA Ho Yat Tung Primary School - the school that Law attended - have contracted respiratory problems since late February.

Of five hospitalized, Type A influenza virus was detected in three.

To facilitate further inquiries and disinfection, the government has asked the affected primary school to suspend lessons by bringing the Easter holidays forward to today from March 25.

However, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said more justification was needed for a citywide school closure as the current flu season was similar to those witnessed in the previous two years.

(China Daily 03/12/2008 page3)