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Two cases of leptospirosis under investigation

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating two cases of leptospirosis, a disease caused by bacteria, involving two men.

     The first case is a 20-year-old man with good past health who developed fever, chills and rigour, eye pain and joint pain on July 3, about two weeks after visiting Malaysia. He was admitted to Queen Mary Hospital the next day and discharged on July 9.  He is now in stable condition.

     Serology tests confirmed that he had leptospirosis.

     His home contacts did not have any symptoms.

     Another case involved a 26-year-old man with good past health who presented with fever and myalgia on July 12. He was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital on July 13 and discharged on July 15. He is now in stable condition.

     Serology tests confirmed that he had leptospirosis.

     Investigation revealed that the man travelled to Sabah, Malaysia, with three people from June 29 to July 3.

     His home contacts and three travel collaterals were asymptomatic.

     Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease caused by the bacteria leptospira which can be found in some animals including rodents, cattle, pigs, horses and dogs.

     Most human infections occur through contact with urine excreted by infected mammals primarily through skin abrasions, open wounds or mucous membranes, and occasionally through ingestion or inhalation.

     The disease is normally not transmissible among humans.

     The incubation period is usually between four and 19 days.

     A CHP spokesman said people infected with leptospirosis commonly presented with a flu-like illness with high fever, headache, muscle pain, red eye, sore throat and rash. In some cases, the disease can cause anaemia and affect the liver, kidneys, lungs and other internal organs. The disease can be treated effectively with antibiotics.

     The risk of infection can be minimised by covering open wounds properly and avoiding contact with urine of live mammals and objects contaminated by them, as well as polluted water, the spokesman said.

Ends/Friday, July 30, 2010
Issued at HKT 20:00


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