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Bus driver death highlights flu threat in Hong Kong


In densely populated cities such as Hong Kong, a citizen’s daily routine is rife with opportunities to contract seasonal flu viruses. This fact was unfortunately highlighted by the death of a 56-year-old Kowloon Motor Bus bus driver from pneumonia after becoming infected with human swine flu H1N1 on February 13.  The victim drove Route 85B between Chun Shek in Sha Tin and Kowloon City ferry pier, and was admitted to the intensive care unit of Prince of Wales Hospital suffering from flu one day after taking sick leave on January 20.

kowloonbus

The death of a Kowloon Motor Bus bus driver from pneumonia after becoming infected with human swine flu H1N1 has raised concerns regarding the adequacy of bus ventilation.

Despite assurances by Kowloon Motor Bus that its vehicles are equipped with sufficient ventilation to minimize the risk of flu among drivers, the Federation of Trade Unions last year received complaints of poor ventilation in buses from Kowloon Motor Bus staff.

Issues of adequate bus ventilation are being debated against the backdrop of heightened concerns regarding not only swine flu H1N1, but bird flu H7N9 as well. Live chicken imports remain suspended for another four months following the discovery of bird flu H7N9 because a specimen from a batch of imported poultry from the Mainland tested positive for the H7 avian influenza virus. A total of 357 H7N9 cases had been confirmed on the Mainland.

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