FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Fatal case of pneumococcal infection under investigation in Hong Kong

The Centre for Health Protection of the Hong Kong Department of Health announced on Friday it is investigating a fatal case of invasive pneumococcal infection caused by Streptococcus pneumonia.

The patient was a five-year-old girl who had a fever and cough on Nov. 13. When she developed shortness of breath on Nov. 16, she was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of Prince of Wales Hospital. She died on Nov. 18.

Hospital laboratories confirmed she was infected by pneumococcus, and the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch determined it to be serotype 3. Preliminary investigations showed the girl had not been immunized with pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, and had no recent travel history.

No further outbreaks have been reported where the girl attended school, and investigations are ongoing.

The Working Group on pneumococcal vaccination will meet in December to review the case.

"Parents should seek medical consultation immediately if their children develop symptoms of respiratory tract infection, such as fever and cough, even if their children have been immunised with the PCV," a CHP spokesman said. "Pneumococci are commonly found in the nose and throat of healthy people, particularly in children. They mainly spread from one person to another through coughing, sneezing or direct close contact. They can also spread via contact with materials soiled with sputum or nasal discharges of the infected."