By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The Health Bureau (SS) has warned that Macau may report more severe or even fatal cases of influenza in the two months ahead, and urged people to get inoculated against the viruses as soon as possible.
The 47-year-old woman who tested positive for Influenza A (H1N1), known as swine flu, was still in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Kiang Wu Hospital yesterday and has started to use an artificial lung to help with breathing as she is suffering from serious pneumonia.
Medical director of Conde de São Januário Hospital (CHCSJ) Lei Wai Seng said in a press conference that the woman had “good health condition” in the past but her immune system was relatively weak and has fewer white blood cells than other people.
Lei said Macau has already entered the peak flu season which is expected to last four to eight weeks and be at its worst between late February and early March.
He pointed out that influenza cases could be predominately caused by H1N1 virus in Macau, but a subtype of Influenza A virus H3N2 and Influenza B also exist in the city.
Hence, he said the hospital did not rule out the possibility that more critical influenza cases – but “not too many” – or even fatal cases will emerge in the near future.
People who were never infected by the viruses nor received H1N1 vaccinations will be more prone to influenza, and the elderly and those living with chronic illness are even more at risk, the doctor stressed.
To date, some 58,700 people have already been inoculated against seasonal flu, who were mainly children and teenagers from seven to 17 years old, followed by the elderly over 60 years old and then between six months old and six years old.
The vaccinations can be received at any of the three local hospitals, public health centres or the workers’ clinics.