Hospital Authority experts meet on latest situation of Zika

The following is issued on behalf of the Hospital Authority:

     The Hospital Authority (HA) Central Committee on Infectious Disease and Emergency Responses (CCIDER) held a special meeting this morning (September 2) to review the latest global situation of Zika virus infection and also deliberate on a series of enhanced measures of surveillance and infection control in public hospitals. The meeting was attended by the representatives of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) as well as experts from microbiology, infectious disease, obstetrics and gynecology, paediatrics, medicine and epidemiology.
     The HA spokesman said the current test arrangements for Zika virus has been reviewed at the meeting. It was decided a more liberal and flexible approach would be adopted by public hospital doctors to arrange the test for patients so to enhance the monitoring of any suspected or confirmed cases. Furthermore, the HA will collaborate with the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP to provide serology test for the targeted pregnant women to rule out Zika virus infection during the exposure history. The meeting also agreed to standardise the discharge criteria for confirmed patients and examined the arrangements for conducting Zika RT-PCR testing in the HA laboratories under the seven hospital clusters.
     In addition, the meeting also discussed the blood safety and blood donation screening policies related to Zika virus infection to ensure a balance between safety of patients requiring transfusion and adequate of blood supply. On the other hand, public hospitals and clinics have already stepped up mosquito prevention and control work, including regular site inspections, clearance of stagnated water and increase the frequency of mosquito control.
     “The HA will continue to work closely with the CHP and other government departments to closely monitor the latest development of Zika virus infection.” The HA spokesman appeals to the public to seek medical consultation as soon as possible if feeling unwell upon their return to Hong Kong. They should inform healthcare workers of their travel and contact history. Public hospitals will arrange RT-PCR test for Zika virus for symptomatic patients returning from the affected areas. The test results will normally be available on the next day. Patients should continue to exercise vigilance in protecting themselves from mosquito bites.

Ends/Friday, September 2, 2016
Issued at HKT 20:14