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Precaution against dengue fever


The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) today (August 6) urged the public to take proper precaution to prevent dengue fever from establishing its foothold in Hong Kong.

"Dengue fever is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It is commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions including South East Asia, South Asia, the Pacific area, Africa and Central America," said Dr Ho Yuk-yin, Consultant (Community Medicine)(Risk Assessment and Communication) of the FEHD.

"The disease can be imported into Hong Kong through infected travellers from the above places. A vector, Aedes albopictus, known to transmit the disease, is abundant in Hong Kong. Infected mosquito may transmit the disease.

"Aedes albopictus is well-known to breed in small containers such as tree holes, leaf axils, rock pools, disused tyres, discarded containers and saucers of potted plants," Dr Ho explained.

To safeguard public health, Dr Ho said people should maintain good environmental hygiene in their home and the surroundings to prevent dengue fever.

"It is important to eliminate all stagnant water which is the potential breeding ground for mosquitoes," he noted.

"Dengue fever presents with sudden onset of high fever, severe headache, eye pain, bone and muscle pain, and nausea and vomiting. Rash generally occurs three or four days later. The disease may present in a more severe form, dengue haemorrhagic fever, with bleeding and shock, which may be fatal," he warned.

The public are advised to take the following precautionary measures to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes:

* Properly cover all containers and remove all unnecessary water collection;

* Change at least once a week the water in flower vases and saucers of potted plants to prevent breeding of mosquito. The use of saucers should be avoided whenever possible;

* Keep all drains free from choke;

* Top up all defective ground surfaces to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water;

* Stop storing water along morning walk trails or Government land for irrigation;

* Make large holes on tyres used as anti-bumping measure in garage or wrap them up with plastic cover to prevent water trapping or use mark(s) on the parking space to prevent bumping instead;

* Use mosquito screen to prevent the invasion of mosquito;

* Use insect repellents to provide temporary protection from mosquito bite;

* Wear long-sleeved clothes to protect from mosquito bite; and

* Use mosquito coils or aerosols to kill the mosquito directly.

Dr Ho also called on the public to contact the FEHD's district pest control offices or the department's hotline at 2868 0000 for assistance in mosquito control or prevention.

Further information can be obtained from the department's homepage at

End/Monday, August 6, 2001


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