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Fever patient tests negative for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) received notification from Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) today (July 18) of a suspected case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome affecting a 6-year-old girl whose respiratory specimen tested negative for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus.

     The patient, with good past health, presented with fever, sore throat and abdominal pain on July 17. She attended the Accident and Emergency Department of PMH today and was admitted for further management under isolation. She is now in a stable condition.

     Initial investigations by the CHP revealed that the patient travelled with her mother and elder sister from Dubai to Hong Kong on July 11. She described no contact with animals or patients in Dubai. Her home contacts were asymptomatic.

     Preliminary laboratory testing on the patient's nasopharyngeal aspirate by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP today yielded negative results for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus.

     Locally, the CHP will continue its surveillance mechanism at public and private hospitals, with practising doctors and at 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 said.

     "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 added.

     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 fruit and vegetables unless they have been peeled, and unsafe water. Those returning from the Middle East with respiratory symptoms are advised to wear a face mask, seek medical attention and reveal their travel history to a doctor.

     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/Thursday, July 18, 2013
Issued at HKT 18:57


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