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Further update on CHP's investigation into outbreak of kerato-conjunctivitis in rugby players

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (May 24) provided an update on its investigation into an outbreak of kerato-conjunctivitis among rugby players who participated in a rugby tournament in Singapore on April 21 and 22.

     A CHP spokesman said, "Laboratory investigation for the cases in Hong Kong conducted by the University of Hong Kong showed that two cases tested positive for Vittaforma corneae, one of the species of microsporidia, by polymerase chain reaction."

     The latest investigation revealed that two more boys, aged 9 and 15, developed symptoms compatible with kerato-conjunctivitis, such as itchy, painful and red eyes with discharge since May 21 and 22 and had sought medical consultation.

     The boys were from the Discovery Bay Pirates team. One of the affected required hospitalisation. All are in stable condition.

     The cumulative number of affected boys so far has reached 33, aged from 5 to 16.
     Microsporidia are a group of parasites which are commonly found in the environment and soil. In human eyes, they may cause kerato-conjunctivitis. Risk factors include systemic or local immunosuppression, ocular trauma, exposure to unclean river waters or soil or mud.

     "Members of the public, especially those who have joined the rugby tournament, should seek medical advice if they have similar symptoms," the spokesman said.

     The CHP has set up a hotline, 2125 2363, operating during office hours for enquiries. The spokesman called on rugby players who participated in the Singaporean tournament to contact the Centre.

     The investigation is continuing.

Ends/Thursday, May 24, 2012
Issued at HKT 15:58


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