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Local response to latest MERS situation

     The Controller of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH), Dr Leung Ting-hung, today (May 28) reported the local response in view of the latest situation of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

     According to relevant health authorities, preliminary epidemiological investigations revealed that a male close contact aged 44 of the third MERS case in Korea (male aged 76) had travelled from Korea to Huizhou, Guangdong via Hong Kong on May 26. He arrived at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) at around 1pm by OZ723 of Asiana Airlines and then took a coach operated by Eternal East Bus departing at 3pm on the same day to Huizhou. He was hospitalised in Guangdong in stable condition pending laboratory testing results.

     He is the son of the third and the younger brother of the fourth (female aged 46) MERS case in Korea.

     "As a precautionary measure, we immediately commenced follow-up investigations and are tracing contacts of the above traveller, including close contacts on the same flight and bus as well as other contacts during his local movements. The CHP will continue to liaise with the relevant health authorities for follow-up," Dr Leung said.

     "Passengers onboard OZ 723 of Asiana Airlines who travelled from Korea to Hong Kong on May 26 and those of Eternal East Bus departing at 3pm that day from HKIA to Huizhou should call our hotline on 2125 1111 for further assessment or follow-up. It will operate till 10pm today and from 9am to 9pm tomorrow (May 29)," Dr Leung urged.

     During contact tracing, a female Registered Nurse of the DH's Port Health Office who assessed the above traveller at HKIA reported to have cough, nausea and dizziness today.

     As a precautionary measure, the afebrile nurse was transferred to the Hospital Authority Infectious Disease Centre in Princess Margaret Hospital for assessment and management today. She has been in stable condition and her nasopharyngeal aspirate tested negative for MERS Coronavirus upon preliminary laboratory testing by the CHP's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch.

     "We have made necessary preparations in advance and are ready for other disease control measures if necessary. Members of the public and the healthcare sector should heighten vigilance and stay alert to the latest situation," Dr Leung said.

     The CHP will maintain close communication with the World Health Organization, and the health authorities of Korea and the Mainland.

Ends/Thursday, May 28, 2015
Issued at HKT 21:02


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