HK pneumonia outbreak: Alert level raised to ‘serious response’

In response to the pneumonia outbreak, the Hong Kong medical staff has raised their alert level to “serious response”. Meanwhile, the mystery virus originating from mainland China continues to spread.

The mystery virus was first reported in December in Wuhan, an inland city west of Shanghai and about 900km north of Hong Kong, with a population of over 11 million.

The outbreak sparked fears in Hong Kong, leading to speculation about the resurgence of the flu-like SARS virus that killed hundreds of people in 2002-2003.

Pneumonia outbreak indicates a moderate impact

The severe response level indicates a moderate impact on Hong Kong’s population of 7.5 million people. It is the second-highest in a three-tier system that is part of the new government plan launched in response to the mystery viral pneumonia outbreak.

The Wuhan health commission recently added a thermal imaging system at Hong Kong’s airport to check the body temperature of arriving passengers.

More Medical Staff has been assigned for temperature checks at the West Kowloon high-speed rail station that connects Hong Kong to the mainland.

Countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam, are also carrying out temperature screening on passengers arriving from Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province.

The Wuhan health commission said 11 of the 44 people diagnosed with the pneumonia were in critical condition, and all were being treated in isolation and 121 others who had been in close contact with them were under observation.

According to medical staff, most cases have been traced to the South China Seafood City food market in the suburbs of sprawling Wuhan. However, the commission said the market had been disinfected.

Hong Kong medical staff to set up a committee

The Hong Kong health minister has stated a steering committee will be created to coordinate government response work, notify the WHO (World Health Organization) of any confirmed cases, and activate an electronic platform for infection cases with the Hospital Authority.

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee also said there is a need to have a better response and preparedness framework to tackle the unidentified viral pneumonia, therefore necessitating the plan.

According to her, Under the new plan, the immediate health impact is reduced, and medical staff would be able to determine whether the mystery viral could spread between humans.

However, Professor David Hui Shu-Cheong, a respiratory medicine expert from Chinese University, said health authorities would need to find links between infected patients to prove such transmissions.

WHO in touch with Beijing

The World Health Organisation said it has ongoing contact with authorities in China over a mysterious outbreak of viral pneumonia in the central city of Wuhan, amid concern it may have been transmitted from animals.

The global health watchdog also said Beijing had been in contact, and the country has the necessary capacity to respond to the incident.

It further noted measures were being taken to provide a solution, including investigating the cause, isolating patients, tracing close contacts and closing the seafood market at the center of the outbreak.

Health chief Chan has also noted that the government planned to amend the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance to include “novel infectious disease of public health significance” among items that all medical staff must report to health authorities on.

Pneumonia outbreak ideas to consider

In China, health authorities are still working to identify the virus behind a pneumonia outbreak in the central city of Wuhan. Symptoms are described #SARS -like, but there is no evidence yet of human-2-human transmission. And it’s centered around a fish market in Wuhan, not around live civets, as was the case with SARS.

While Wuhan Health FORMALLY declared 44 cases of mystery viral pneumonia, fear is that history will repeat itself. China’s delay in releasing news about #SARS in 2003 ultimately infected over 8,000 people internationally according to WHO.

Someone is saying:

No doubt “Pig Ebola” mutated to infect humans. Likely the whole thing was a “butchered” attempt at creating a bio weapon using pigs. Similarities between humans and pigs include anatomic physiologic traits, organ placement(size and function)skin similarities disease progression.

Some food for thought on the pneumonia outbreak:

pneumonia outbreak