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DH updates on Ebola-affected areas

     The Department of Health (DH) today (October 21) updated the list of affected countries/areas in the local reporting criteria for Ebola virus disease in response to the World Health Organization (WHO) which declared the end of Ebola outbreak in Nigeria yesterday (October 20).

     According to the WHO's recommendations, the end of an Ebola outbreak in a country can be declared once 42 days, twice the maximum incubation period (21 days), have passed since the last day any person had contact with an Ebola case and no additional cases have been detected.

     "Locally, however, doctors should pay attention to patients who travelled to Nigeria on or before October 20 who develop compatible symptoms within 21 days, as they still meet the reporting criteria and are also statutorily required to be promptly notified to the Centre for Health Protection of the DH," a spokesman for the DH said.

     The DH again urged the public to avoid unnecessary travel to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Equateur Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Updated travel advice has been uploaded to the front page of the CHP (, the DH's Travel Health Service ( and the Outbound Travel Alert of the Security Bureau (

     "We will issue letters to doctors and private hospitals to inform them of the updated affected countries/areas and revised reporting criteria, including lowering the fever temperature from 38 to 37.5 degrees Celsius, as well as the importance of strict infection control and eliciting patients' travel history, in view of overseas epidemiological experience," the spokesman added.

     Regarding port health measures, the Health Surveillance Questionnaire has been launched for passengers arriving at the airport who have travelled to the affected countries/areas in the past 21 days, or hold travel documents issued by the affected countries. Holders of these travel documents are provided with Ebola information sheets at all boundary control points (BCPs). In parallel, ongoing temperature screening and health promotion for all travellers arriving at all BCPs is underway. Suspected cases will be referred to the Hospital Authority Infectious Disease Centre in Princess Margaret Hospital for examination.

     "We hope the enhanced port health measures, in addition to the existing ones, can supplement and enhance our capacity in Ebola case detection at BCPs," the spokesman said.

     The DH will continue to closely monitor the latest developments of the overseas situation and communicate with the WHO, as well as the Mainland and neighbouring health authorities to exchange information and updates on preventive and control measures, and will modify the local response and health surveillance if necessary.

Ends/Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:16


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