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Fever patient with travel history tests negative for novel coronavirus

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) received notification from Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) last night (April 25) of a suspected case of severe respiratory disease associated with novel coronavirus affecting a 32-year-old woman. Her respiratory specimen tested negative for the virus today.

     The patient, who has an underlying illness, presented with symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection on April 18 in Dubai. She developed a fever on April 24 and subsequently attended QEH in Hong Kong last night.

     Her chest X-ray showed no signs of pneumonia. She has been in a stable condition all along and is currently admitted to the isolation ward.

     Preliminary laboratory testing of the patient's nasopharyngeal swab by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP yielded negative for Novel Coronavirus associated with Severe Respiratory Disease.

     Initial investigations by the CHP revealed that the patient had travelled to Dubai from April 14 to 24. Her travel companion remained asymptomatic.

     "The CHP will continue its surveillance mechanism with public and private hospitals, practising doctors and the airport for any suspected cases of severe respiratory disease associated with novel coronavirus," a DH spokesman said.

     "No human infection with this virus has been identified so far in Hong Kong," the spokesman stressed.

     "We would like to reassure the public that the Government will be as transparent as possible in the dissemination of information on cases of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus. Whenever there is a suspected case, particularly involving patients with travel history to the Middle East and the affected areas, the CHP will release information to the public as soon as possible," the spokesman said.

     Travellers returning from novel coronavirus-affected areas with respiratory symptoms are advised to wear face masks, seek medical attention and reveal their travel history to doctors.

     The spokesman reminded members of the public to take heed of personal hygiene:

* Wash hands before touching the eyes, nose and mouth;
* Wash hands before eating or handling food;
* Wash hands after using the toilet;
* Wash hands after sneezing or coughing and cleaning the nose; and
* Avoid direct contact with animals, birds or poultry.

     The public may visit the CHP's website ( for more information on personal hygiene.

Ends/Friday, April 26, 2013
Issued at HKT 14:58


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