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Heightened vigilance necessary against dengue fever and Zika Virus Infection
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (April 28) again urged the public to adopt necessary precautions in the rainy season against mosquito-borne diseases including dengue fever (DF) and Zika Virus Infection.

     Regarding DF, from April 21 to 27, the CHP recorded one confirmed case and the patient had been to Indonesia during the incubation period.

     As of yesterday (April 27), the 22 DF cases in 2017 were mainly imported from Thailand (six), the Philippines (four), Indonesia, Sri Lanka and multiple areas (three each). No local cases have been recorded so far this year.

     Dengue remains endemic in some neighbouring and overseas areas. In Asia, the latest figures of 2017 revealed that 8 858 cases have been recorded in Thailand, 880 in Singapore and 61 in Japan since January 2. In the Americas, 8 222 cases were filed in Mexico.

     "In view of the first imported case of Zika Virus Infection in 2017 recently detected as well as the warm and humid weather in the rainy season which is conducive to massive mosquito breeding in a short period of time, members of the public should heighten vigilance in strict environmental hygiene, mosquito control and personal protective measures both locally and during travel to guard against mosquito-borne diseases," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     "Stagnant water may easily accumulate in parks, work sites, housing estates, villages and rural areas, and be favourable for mosquitoes to breed. Mosquito control in these places requires effective and sustained efforts from the public and private sectors as well as their contractors and stakeholders," the spokesman added.

     In the rainy season, the public should take heed of the following advice on mosquito control:
  • Thoroughly check all gully traps, roof gutters, surface channels and drains to prevent blockage;
  • Scrub and clean drains and surface channels with an alkaline detergent compound at least once a week to remove any deposited mosquito eggs;
  • Properly dispose of refuse, such as soft drink cans, empty bottles and boxes, in covered litter containers;
  • Completely change water of flowers and plants at least once a week. The use of saucers should be avoided if possible;
  • Level irregular ground surfaces before the rainy season;
  • Avoid staying in shrubby areas; and
  • Take personal protective measures such as wearing light-coloured long-sleeved clothes and long trousers and apply insect repellent containing DEET to clothing or uncovered areas of the body when doing outdoor activities.

     To reduce the risk of infections spread by mosquitoes, apart from general measures, travellers returning from affected areas should apply insect repellent for 14 days (DF) or at least 21 days (Zika Virus Infection) upon arrival in Hong Kong. If feeling unwell, seek medical advice promptly and provide travel details to the doctor. DEET-containing insect repellents are effective and the public should take heed of the tips below:
  • Read carefully the label instructions first;
  • Apply right before entering an area with risk of mosquito bites;
  • Apply on exposed skin and clothing;
  • Use DEET of up to 30 per cent for pregnant women and up to 10 per cent for children;
  • Apply sunscreen first, then insect repellent; and
  • Re-apply only when needed and follow the instructions.

     The public may refer to the CHP's tips for using insect repellents for details.
Ends/Friday, April 28, 2017
Issued at HKT 15:05
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