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Stay on guard against Japanese encephalitis

     The Government today (June 30) urged the public to stay alert to the risk of Japanese encephalitis (JE) and to take proper anti-mosquito measures.

     Following a report of a JE case in Yuen Long in mid-June, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has been conducting JE vector surveys in the district and collected a total of seven batches of specimens of Culex tritaeniorhynchus for testing for the JE virus by the Department of Health (DH). Laboratory test results just confirmed that the JE virus was found in a batch of specimens of adult Culex tritaeniorhynchus collected in Mong Tseng Wai, Lau Fau Shan, Yuen Long, on June 26. The rest of the specimens did not carry the virus.

     "Positive results from time to time are not unexpected as JE is endemic among local pigs. Mosquitoes may acquire the virus from wading birds and pigs, which are known hosts of the virus," the spokesman said.

     Various government departments have strengthened inspections and mounted special operations in the vicinity, including larviciding and fogging to clean up the environment and remove mosquito breeding places, as well as related publicity and education efforts.

     "The anti-mosquito actions and monitoring of JE vectors will continue," the spokesman said.

     Officers of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the DH will conduct home visits and surveys among neighbours in the vicinity of Mong Tseng Wai for active case finding. An additional health talk will also be held in Mong Tseng Wai at noon tomorrow (July 1) to deliver health advice and arrange for blood tests for the public. Residents of Yuen Long District, including those in Tin Shui Wai and Lau Fau Shan, with symptoms of JE are advised to promptly seek medical attention.

     The CHP's hotline (2125 1122) for public enquiries is extended to 9pm today and will operate from 9am to 6pm from tomorrow onwards.

     The CHP appealed to doctors and hospitals for vigilance and support in early diagnosis, control and prevention of JE.

     To prevent the contraction of JE, members of the public, particularly those living in rural areas, are reminded to take heed of the following preventive measures, especially after dark:

* Wear loose, light-coloured long-sleeved clothes and trousers;
* Use effective insect repellents containing DEET over exposed parts of the body and clothing when outdoors; and
* Use mosquito screens or nets in rooms which are not air-conditioned.

     Travellers to endemic areas of JE should take the following precautions:

* Avoid outdoor exposure to mosquito bites at dusk and dawn, especially in rural areas, when mosquitoes spreading this virus are most active;
* Apply effective insect repellents containing DEET over exposed parts of the body and clothes; and
* Consider vaccination and arrange travel health consultation with a doctor to determine the need for vaccination and vector preventive measures at least six weeks before departure to endemic areas in Asia or the Western Pacific for staying over one month, particularly in high-risk rural areas.

     The public may visit the CHP's JE page ( or that of the DH's Travel Health Service ( for further information on JE and outbreaks in other areas.

     "Vector-borne diseases" is the theme of this year's World Health Day (WHD) of the World Health Organization. The public may visit the CHP's WHD Page ( for more information.

Ends/Monday, June 30, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:29


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