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Imported cluster of bacillary dysentery cases under investigation

     The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health is today (July 9) investigating an imported cluster of bacillary dysentery infection affecting 15 persons and reminded people to maintain personal, food and environmental hygiene to prevent infection.

     The cluster involves a tour group which travelled from Hong Kong to Cambodia from June 13 to 17.

     The tour group comprised 32 persons. Fifteen members of the group, comprising four males and 11 females aged between 20 and 63, presented with symptoms of acute gastroenteritis including fever, diarrhoea and vomiting since June 15.

     Eleven of them sought medical consultation. One affected person required hospitalisation. All the affected are in stable condition.

     The stool specimens of two persons yielded Shigella flexneri. The investigation is continuing.

     Bacillary dysentery is an intestinal infection caused by a group of Shigella bacteria which can be found in the human gut. It is transmitted directly by the faecal material of a patient/carrier or indirectly through contaminated food and water. It is also a cause of travellers' diarrhoea. In Hong Kong, more cases are recorded in summer months.

     The spokesman advised members of the public to maintain good personal and environmental hygiene to avoid infection. They should:

* wash hands properly with soap and water before eating or handling food, and after going to the toilet or changing diapers;
* avoid high-risk food like shellfish, raw food or semi-cooked food;
* boil water and cook food thoroughly before consumption;
* purchase fresh food from reliable sources, and do not patronise unlicensed street vendors; and
* seek medical attention when they have symptoms of fever and diarrhoea, especially bloody diarrhoea.

Ends/Monday, July 9, 2012
Issued at HKT 17:28


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