The Health Bureau (SSM) hosted a press conference Wednesday at the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre about a new flu outbreak that has been in the city for the past two months and is forecast by the bureau to last another two to three weeks.
Disease Prevention and Control Centre Director Lam Chong noted that since last month there has been another flu outbreak that would likely last for a further two to three weeks. Most of the cases are caused by influenza B and most of the patients are children, according to Lam.
Lam added that over the past two months, at its peak, there were 25 people affected by various flu-related illnesses in one week, and nine in one day. There were no serious influenza B infections and none of the patients needed to be hospitalised, Lam pointed out.
According to the press conference, which was attended by three officials from the bureau, one of the reasons for the local flu outbreak was due to the fact that the mainland was also suffering from the same virus at the same time.
With the high flow of visitors and high population density, the virus could easily pass on to others, the officials said.
The officials also pointed out that every day over the past two months there have been 3-10 people who passed the border checkpoints with a fever or some sort of flu-related illness. SSM staff stationed at the city’s border checkpoints routinely recommend that anyone with a fever go see a doctor immediately.
The press conference also pointed out that the flu vaccine for this year was not effective for this particular kind of influenza B virus. The current vaccine that Macau is using is for four kinds of flu viruses, which include two kinds of influenza A and two kinds of influenza B, the officials said.
Lam underlined, however, that “this vaccine is not effective for the virus we are facing now.” He predicted that the current outbreak would continue for another two to three weeks.
When a reporter asked if there would be new vaccines for this kind of virus, Lam said that each vaccine was decided in February by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is headquartered in Geneva.
The current vaccine would not be replaced any time soon, Lam said.
However, Leong Kin Mui, a consultant paediatrician of the public hospital, suggested that everyone should get vaccinated regardless because usually there is another influenza-like illness outbreak in the summer.(Macaunews)