DH adds Liberia to Ebola-affected areas

     The Department of Health (DH) today (July 3) added Liberia to the list of affected areas of Ebola virus disease with immediate effect to enhance local surveillance, and again urged the public to remain vigilant and avoid unnecessary travel to affected areas.

     In addition to the first case reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) after the end of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia declared on May 9, the health authority of Liberia reported a second case who lived in the same village and had contact with the first case. Moreover, a healthcare worker who treated the first case escaped from being followed up and was missing.

     "In view of the latest developments, the public should avoid unnecessary travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to protect themselves from Ebola. Liberia is now included in the affected areas in the reporting criteria of Ebola while other criteria remain unchanged," a spokesman for the DH said.

     Locally, the Government's relevant preventive and control measures on Ebola will be revised accordingly, including:

* Surveillance: Patients with Ebola symptoms and travel history to affected areas (including Liberia) or contact with Ebola patients during the incubation period should be immediately notified to the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the DH for prompt investigation, control and transfer to the Hospital Authority Infectious Disease Centre in Princess Margaret Hospital for isolation, diagnosis, testing and treatment;

* Port health measures: While routine temperature screening is under way, arriving passengers at the airport who travelled to affected areas (including Liberia) in the past 21 days or are holding travel documents issued by affected countries (including Liberia) are required to complete a health surveillance questionnaire on travel history, health status and exposure history; and

* Health education: Immigration officers at boundary control points identify arriving passengers holding travel documents issued by affected countries (including Liberia) and deliver Ebola information sheets to remind them to seek medical advice immediately if sick.

     Other ongoing measures including infection control, risk communication and contingency planning as well as publicity and public education on Ebola are under way.

     "We will issue letters to doctors and hospitals on the update," the spokesman added.

     The DH will continue to closely monitor the latest developments of the overseas Ebola situation and communicate with the WHO and health authorities to exchange information and update preventive and control measures.

     The pages below will be updated accordingly:

* The CHP's Ebola page (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/34199.html);
* The CHP's list of Ebola-affected areas and statistics (www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/evd_affected_area.pdf);
* The DH's Travel Health Service (www.travelhealth.gov.hk/eindex.html); and
* The Outbound Travel Alert page of the Security Bureau (www.sb.gov.hk/eng/ota).

Ends/Friday, July 3, 2015
Issued at HKT 15:51