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CHP investigates the first imported case of Zika Virus Infection
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (August 25) investigating the first imported case of Zika Virus Infection, and urged the public to adopt strict anti-mosquito measures and safe sex during travel. Pregnant women and those planning pregnancy should not travel to affected areas.

     The patient is a 38-year-old woman with good past health. She has developed joint pain and red eyes since August 20. She has been afebrile all along. She attended the out-patient clinic of a private hospital on August 23 and did not require hospitalisation.
     Her blood and urine specimens were tested positive for Zika virus upon laboratory testing by the CHP's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch this evening. She is currently in stable condition. She has been put under isolation in a vector-free (mosquito-free) environment in United Christian Hospital for further management.
     Initial epidemiological investigation revealed that the patient had visited Saint Barthelemy in the Caribbean from August 6 to 20 and returned to Hong Kong on August 22. She could recall mosquito bites while in the Caribbean. Her travel collaterals have remained asymptomatic.
     The Controller for the CHP, Dr Leung Ting-hung, announced the case in a briefing today. He said, "According to the response system under the 'Preparedness and Response Plan for Zika Virus Infection', upon notification and laboratory confirmation of the case, the CHP immediately commenced epidemiological investigations. We have promptly informed the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD)."

     "We will report the case to the World Health Organization (WHO) and continue to maintain close liaison with the WHO as well as overseas, neighbouring health authorities to closely monitor the latest developments," Dr Leung said.

     The CHP will issue a letter to all doctors and private hospitals to alert them about the latest information of Zika Virus Infection.
     "The FEHD will conduct mosquito surveys and control at the places visited by the patient,” the Pest Control Officer-in-charge of the FEHD, Mr Lee Ming-wai, said in the briefing.

     To prevent Zika Virus Infection, in addition to general anti-mosquito measures, the DH draws the public's attention to the special notes below:

A. Travelling abroad
  • If going to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission (affected areas), travellers, especially those with immune disorders or severe chronic illnesses, should arrange consultation with a doctor at least six weeks before the trip, and take extra preventive measures to avoid mosquito bites;
  • Those arriving from affected areas should apply insect repellent for at least 21 days upon arrival. If feeling unwell, such as having a fever, seek medical advice as soon as possible, and provide travel details to the doctor;
  • Travellers should consider not having sex during travel to affected areas, or else condoms should be used;
  • Travellers returning from affected areas should consider abstinence for at least two months upon return, or else condoms should be used. If diagnosed with Zika Virus Infection or having compatible symptoms, they should consider abstinence for at least six months upon onset, or else condoms should be used;
B. Pregnant women and those preparing for pregnancy
  • Pregnant women and those preparing for pregnancy should not travel to affected areas. Those who must travel should seek medical advice from their doctor before the trip, adopt contraception if appropriate, strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip, and consult and reveal their travel history to their doctor if symptoms develop after the trip;
  • Women preparing for pregnancy are advised to continue to adopt contraception for at least two months after returning from affected areas if they have no symptoms of Zika Virus Infection, or six months if one or both members of the couple are symptomatic;

C. Special notes for prevention of sexual transmission regarding adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • Pregnant women should not have sex with partners who have travelled to affected areas, or else condoms should be used;
  • Travellers returning from affected areas should:
  1. Abstain from sex with pregnant partners, or else use condoms throughout the pregnancy; and
  2. Use condoms for at least six months if female partners may get pregnant.

     The public may visit the following pages for more disease information and health advice: the Zika Page of the CHP and the DH's Travel Health Service, the Outbound Travel Alert page of the Security Bureau, anti-mosquito precautions for women, and the WHO Zika virus situation reports.
Ends/Thursday, August 25, 2016
Issued at HKT 23:15
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