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CHP investigates first local case of dengue fever in 2015

     The Consultant Community Medicine (Communicable Disease) of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health, Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, tonight (June 2) announced the investigation into the first local case of dengue fever (DF) this year, and hence again urged the public to maintain strict environmental hygiene, mosquito control and personal protective measures both locally and during travel.

     "We are highly concerned about the local case and are working closely with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) for all-out efforts to assess and prevent any spread of infection," Dr Chuang remarked.

     The male patient, aged 58 with good past health, has presented with fever, headache, muscle pain, diarrhoea and rash since around May 25 and consulted a private doctor, attended a general out-patient clinic and consulted a Chinese medicine practitioner. He subsequently attended the out-patient department of a private hospital on May 31 and was admitted for management. His fever subsided after admission. He has been in stable condition all along and was discharged today.

     His blood sample tested positive for dengue antigen and IgM antibodies upon testing by the CHP's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch today.

     Initial enquiries revealed that the patient lives in Grandway Garden, Sha Tin, New Territories and worked at Cheung Hing Mansion, 15 Cheung Wong Road, Prince Edward, Kowloon. He recalled frequent mosquito bites near his residence. He mainly stayed at home and went to work during the incubation period, and he also went to work after onset. He had no travel history outside Hong Kong one month before onset of symptoms.

     The patient's home contact has remained asymptomatic so far and has been put under medical surveillance.

     "Upon notification and laboratory confirmation, the CHP immediately commenced epidemiological investigations and promptly informed the FEHD for vector investigation and mosquito control. We also informed the relevant management offices and District Offices under the Home Affairs Department for their corresponding follow-up. The CHP's investigations and health education in the vicinity where the patient frequented are proceeding," Dr Chuang added.

     Officers of the CHP will conduct site visit and field investigation by questionnaire surveys at the patient's residence and workplace for active case finding and arranging blood tests.

     Persons who have been to the nearby places of Grandway Garden or Cheung Hing Mansion with DF symptoms should call the CHP's hotline (2125 1122) for laboratory investigation or referral to hospital as appropriate. It will operate until 10pm today and from 9am to 6pm tomorrow (June 3).

     A joint health talk with the FEHD will be held to deliver health advice to residents and the public.

     The Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee on Mosquito-borne Diseases will convene an urgent meeting this week to follow up on the case as well as local prevention and control measures.

     "We will issue letters to doctors and private hospitals to alert them of the case. We will also enhance the surveillance of suspected DF cases in collaboration with public hospitals under the Hospital Authority, private hospitals and private doctors. Early referral and prompt control are critical to prevent further local spread of DF," Chuang said.

     To date, 35 DF cases have been confirmed this year including this local and 34 imported cases. In 2014, there were three local and 109 imported cases. In 2013, 103 cases were filed and all were imported.

     Dengue viruses encompass four different serotypes. The symptoms of first infection with one are usually mild, but subsequent infections with the others are more likely to result in a serious complication, namely dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF). DHF is a severe and potentially fatal complication. Without proper treatment, the DHF case fatality rate can exceed 20 per cent.

     According to the World Health Organization, although clinical trials on humans for some dengue vaccine candidates are ongoing, none are now available and registered with any drug regulatory authorities. Strict environmental hygiene, mosquito control and personal protective measures hence remain the most effective means against DF both locally and during travel.

Avoid mosquito bites

     Travellers should stay alert to the DF risk before departing, and take heed of the preventive measures below:

* Wear loose, light-coloured, long-sleeved tops and trousers, and use DEET-containing insect repellent on exposed parts of the body and clothing;
* Avoid using fragrant cosmetics or skin care products and re-apply insect repellents according to instructions in outdoor activities;
* Before the trip, arrange travel health consultation at least six weeks in advance for any extra measures against mosquito bites; and
* During the trip, carry a portable bed net and apply permethrin (an insecticide) on it in rural endemic areas. Permethrin should not be applied to skin.
     The incubation period of DF ranges from three to 14 days, commonly four to seven days. Anyone feeling unwell after returning from a trip should seek medical advice as soon as possible and provide travel details to their doctors.

Remove breeding sites
     Members of the public should also prevent the accumulation of stagnant water and maintain good environmental hygiene:
* Change the water in vases once a week;
* Clear the water in saucers under potted plants every week;
* Cover water containers tightly;
* Ensure air-conditioner drip trays are free of stagnant water;
* Put all used cans and bottles into covered dustbins; and
* Store food and dispose of garbage properly.
     The public may visit the pages below for more information:
* The CHP's DF page (;
* The DF page of the DH's Travel Health Service (;
* The DH's latest Travel Health News (;
* The CHP's tips for using insect repellents (;
* The CHP Facebook Page (;
* The CHP YouTube Channel (; and
* The FEHD's Guidebook on Control and Prevention of Mosquito Breeding (

Ends/Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Issued at HKT 21:58


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