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Suspected malaria case on container vessel

     The Port Health Office (PHO) of the Department of Health (DH) today (June 8) received a call for medical assistance for a sick crew member from a container vessel Nedlloyd Mercator which departed from Singapore for Nansha of Panyu.  The sick crew member was suspected to have malaria infection.

     The sick crew member is a 25-year-old Indian male seaman.  He developed fever on June 1 in India and departed for Singapore on June 4 to board the container vessel to work.  While on board, he developed chills and rigors, headache and dry cough, which were suggestive of malaria infection.

     On investigation, the seaman recalled that he and his friend had severe mosquito bites in India in mid May this year.  The seaman claimed that his friend was subsequently found to have malaria and dengue fever in India.  Based on the clinical presentation of the seaman and the history, the seaman was suspected to have malaria infection.  

     The seaman was immediately sent to Princess Margaret Hospital this afternoon for medical treatment after the container vessel was ordered to berth at the quarantine anchorage.  His clinical condition remains stable.

     As the seaman was suspected to have malaria infection, the container vessel was not granted a free pratique.  The container vessel was ordered to stay at the quarantine anchorage for inspection of the hygiene condition in accordance with the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance (Cap. 599).

     PHO's investigation revealed that general hygienic condition of the ship was satisfactory and no mosquito activity was noted on board.  There were 20 crew members on board and all of them were asymptomatic.  Risk of malaria transmission to other crew members is low in view of the short exposure history with the index patient and absence of mosquito vector.  

     PHO staff had instructed the ship to stay at the quarantine anchorage to carry out disinfection and disinsection procedures.  Port health authorities in Singapore and Panyu will be informed of the incident.

Ends/Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Issued at HKT 21:05


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