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DH update on measures against overseas outbreaks of Ebola virus disease

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (August 8) provided an update on the local response in view of the overseas outbreaks of Ebola virus disease (EVD).

     "DH has noted the World Health Organization's (WHO) announcement that the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern have been met. DH has adopted the preventive strategies which are in line with those recommended by WHO. CHP will continue to closely monitor the development of the overseas situation and the latest recommendations provided by WHO," a spokesman for the DH remarked.

     "As of August 4, the World Health Organization has reported 1 711 cases of EVD in the Western Africa region since March 2014. Besides the cases reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, nine cases were reported in Nigeria. According to the information of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, active EVD transmission is reported in Lagos in Nigeria. In view of the latest development, we now advise travellers to avoid unnecessary travel to the area as well as other affected areas including Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The updated travel alert message has been posted on the websites of the CHP and the DH's Travel Health Service," the spokesman said.

     "Immigration officers will assist in identifying arrival passengers holding travel documents issued by the four affected countries and provide them information sheets about EVD. The information sheets will remind the sick travellers to approach port health personnel immediately if they are already sick upon arrival. If travellers have symptoms during their visit to Hong Kong, they should seek medical treatment promptly in the nearest Accident and Emergency Department of public hospitals as provided in the information sheet and tell the doctors about their travel history," the spokesman added.

     In addition, the DH has started to provide information about EVD to travellers by broadcasting health messages in the departure and arrival halls of the airport today.

     The CHP will also issue letters to doctors and hospitals to appeal for vigilance and to inform them about the latest situation in the affected areas. Suspected cases should be notified to the CHP for early isolation, diagnosis, control and follow-up. Health-care workers should also exercise strict infection control measures to reduce the risk of transmission.

     The CHP has set up a thematic website about EVD. Meanwhile, we have informed various working partners, including government departments/bureaux, District Councils and others, on the latest EVD situation and requested them to assist in disseminating health information to the public. CHP has also approached the organisations of Africans in Hong Kong to give them information about the disease and preventive measures. CHP will also provide relevant health information to the public through various channels including the Internet and media.

     "Viral haemorrhagic fever, including EVD, has been a statutorily notifiable infectious disease since July 2008. No cases have been recorded in Hong Kong so far. The CHP's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch is capable of detecting the virus," the spokesman stressed.

     There is currently no vaccine for EVD. The DH appealed to the public to take heed of the following preventive measures:

* Observe good personal and environmental hygiene. Wash hands with soap frequently;
* Avoid close contact with feverish or ill persons, and avoid contact with blood or bodily fluids of patients, including items which may have come in contact with an infected person's blood or bodily fluids;
* Avoid contact with animals; and
* Cook food thoroughly before consumption.

     The public may visit the CHP's EVD page (, the Travel Health News on the DH's Travel Health Service website ( or the WHO's EVD page ( for more information and travel advice.

Ends/Friday, August 8, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:16


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