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Precautionary measures against dirofilariasis

     A spokesman for the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health said today (August 27) that the CHP noted a study by the University of Hong Kong (HKU) about three human cases of dirofilariasis.

     He was speaking in response to a media report today citing the human cases, adding that the CHP will follow up with HKU to learn more about this disease.

     The spokesman said that dirofilariasis is a disease caused by Dirofilaria worms. Dirofilaria worms are parasites that infect a variety of mammals. Dogs are one of the main natural hosts of Dirofilaria worms. Humans may occasionally acquire the disease from infected natural hosts through mosquito bites. Infection may result in nodules under the skin, conjunctiva or internal organs, urticaria (hives) and inflammation of the lymphatic system, etc.

     He said, "Dirofilariasis does not transmit from person to person. It is usually treated by surgical removal of the nodules.

     "Members of the public should consult medical professionals if they have compatible symptoms."

     To avoid infection, members of the public are reminded to observe good environmental hygiene and take good personal protective measures against mosquito bites and stray dogs. Dog owners are specifically reminded to take the following precautionary measures as advised by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department:

* Maintain dogs on lifelong preventive courses of heartworm drugs from veterinarians; and
* Do not abandon dogs so that they become stray dogs and possible hosts for heartworms.

Ends/Monday, August 27, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:36


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