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Fever patient with travel history tests negative for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus

     A spokesman of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (June 19) provided an update on a suspected case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome affecting a 17-year-old man.

     The preliminary laboratory test results by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP on his nasopharyngeal swab yielded negative for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus. The patient has been in stable condition all along.

     The CHP received notification from Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) yesterday (June 18). The patient, with good past health, has presented with cough, runny nose, fever and sore throat since June 16. He attended QEH upon his return to Hong Kong yesterday.

     Locally, the CHP will continue its surveillance mechanism with public and private hospitals, practising doctors and the airport for any suspected case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

     "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 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. Whenever there is a suspected case, particularly involving patients with travel history to the Middle East, the CHP will release information to the public as soon as possible," the spokesman remarked.

     Healthcare workers and hospitals are reminded to maintain vigilance against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and adhere to strict infection control measures while handling suspected cases in order to reduce the risk of transmission to other patients, healthcare workers and visitors.

     Recent travellers returning from the Middle East who develop severe acute respiratory infections should be tested for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus. Patients' lower respiratory tract specimens should also be obtained for diagnosis when possible. Doctors are reminded that Middle East Respiratory Syndrome should be considered even with atypical signs and symptoms, such as diarrhoea, particularly in patients who are immunocompromised.

     Travellers should avoid contact with animals, poultry or sick people during their journeys and seek medical consultation immediately if feeling unwell. As a general precautionary measure, they should also adhere to food safety and environmental hygiene such as avoiding undercooked meats, raw fruits and vegetables, unless they have been peeled, or unsafe water. Those returning from the Middle East with respiratory symptoms are advised to wear face masks, seek medical attention and reveal their travel history to doctors.

     Members of the public are reminded 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 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome ( or personal hygiene (

Ends/Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Issued at HKT 13:52


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