The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health had made two more detections of a human swine influenza (HSI) virus strain with mutation similar to the one reported by Norway last year.
The two new cases involved two women, 53 and 59 years old respectively.The 53-year-old woman developed fever and cough on December 2.She is currently hospitalised in the North District Hospital in stable condition. The 59-year-old woman presented with flu symptoms since December 12 and passed away on December 19 in Kwong Wah Hospital.
The detections arose from an ongoing surveillance programme of virus isolates by the Centres Public Health Laboratory Service Branch.They brought to nine the total number of such detections so far in Hong Kong.
A CHP spokesman said, The nine detections arose from 408 virus isolates so far tested.
The specimen of one of the cases announced earlier on November 23, involving a 13-month-old child, was later confirmed to be negative for the mutation upon further tests.The child had already recovered.
According the World Health Organization, this mutation has been detected in virus isolates from around 20 countries or areas and currently does not appear to pose a major public health issue.
The CHP is closely monitoring influenza viruses worldwide and remains vigilant against changes in the virus that may have public health significance, he said.
These viruses are still sensitive to antiviral drugs, oseltamivir and zanamivir.
The CHP will continue to monitor influenza viruses in Hong Kong through its laboratory surveillance programme and alert the public of any unusual signs, he said.