Hong Kong Hospital Authority Thursday said that antiviral treatment and tests for influenza A/ H1N1 will be reserved for specific groups of high risk patients.
Tests for the new strain influenza is not routine for flu-like illness patients in general but for high risk patients including those below the age of six, pregnant women, patients with persistent fever after 48 hours of symptomatic treatment and those with chronic diseases, a spokesman for the authority said on Thursday.
In recent weeks, the authority has noted a surge in attendance at Accident and Emergency Departments (AED) despite the opening of eight Designated Flu Clinics (DFC) that have been in operation every day since June 13 and provided consultation to over 40,000 patients.
In the past four weeks, the average daily attendance at the 16 AEDs increased from 5,807 in the last week of July to 6,244 in the past week, with attendance peaking at over 6,900 on Aug. 24 this week.
The spokesman said that patients with flu-like illness seeking consultation at both DFCs and AEDs will be assessed by clinicians to determine the course of treatment, the need for further investigation and hospital admission.
He added that classification of influenza infection will not affect the diagnosis and treatment for the majority of patients who present mild flu symptoms. These patients at public hospitals and clinics will only be prescribed symptom control medication.
The authority will continue to assist the Center for Health Protection of Hong Kong in monitoring the situation of seasonal influenza and influenza A/H1N1 in the city by collecting patient specimens for surveillance purposes, he said.
(Xinhua News Agency August 28, 2009)