Children to get speedy flu test

Local | Jane Cheung 20 Nov 2019

A quicker test to differentiate between flu and other infections causing upper tract inflammation in children will be launched during the upcoming winter flu surge, the Hospital Authority said.

Raymond Lai Wai-man, chief infection control officer of the authority said pediatric patients who are admitted to public hospitals with flu symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat and fever will be given the test, with results obtainable within one to two hours upon the arrival of specimens at the laboratory.

"The test will help us identify accurately which type of infection the patients suffer from, so we can give them the most appropriate treatment," he said.

The health official added that 20,000 children are expected to benefit from the test during the winter flu surge while 100,000 adult patients will receive the standard Polymerase Chain Reaction flu test that distinguishes between different flu viruses.

"If doctors give positive feedback to the widened test, we may extend it to adult patients in the future," he said.

Lai expected the winter flu surge to arrive in late December or January, forecasting that the H3N2 virus will be the dominant flu-type this year. The last time the H3N2 flu virus occurred in the SAR was during the 2017 summer flu surge.

"It's been 2 years from now. Citizens' immunity against the virus has faded with time," he warned.

The Hospital Authority also called on citizens to receive their flu jab, as a preventive measure.

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