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Update on number of dengue fever cases
     ​The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (September 9) reported the latest number of cases of dengue fever (DF) and again urged the public to maintain strict environmental hygiene, mosquito control and personal protective measures both locally and during travel.

     Regarding imported cases, from September 1 to 8, six were recorded and the patients had been to Thailand (two), the Philippines (one), Indonesia (one), India (one) and Bangladesh (one) during the incubation period. The 86 imported cases so far in 2016 were mainly from Indonesia (31), Thailand (13) and the Philippines (12).

     "As for the local case reported on September 6, further genetic analysis reveals that the sequenced gene segments of the serotype 3 dengue virus are highly homologous to the viruses of the two earlier cases, supporting the epidemiological relationship. Three local cases have been detected to date in 2016," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     Persons who have been to the vicinity of Central or Mid-Levels with DF symptoms should call the CHP's hotline (2125 2266) for laboratory investigation or referral as appropriate. No abnormalities have been detected so far.

     "To search for other possible cases, doctors should report suspected cases to the CHP, particularly for patients who visited Central or Mid-Levels. Suspected patients should take protective measures against mosquito bites, especially when they are febrile," the spokesman said.

     Members of the public, especially residents or workers in Central, should:
  1. Inspect the household or workplace to check for potential mosquito breeding sites and remove them. Leave no stagnant water;
  2. Apply DEET-containing insect repellents to exposed parts of the body and clothing; and
  3. If fever, rash, pain behind the eyes or muscle or joint pain develop, seek medical attention early.

     A situation update has been uploaded to the CHP's DF page. General measures on preventing mosquito bites and mosquito breeding are also available online.

     In neighbouring areas, in Guangdong, 141 cases (55 local, 39 per cent) were recorded as of September 4 in 2016, increasing 32 per cent from the same period in 2015. Cases were mainly from Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Foshan. In Taiwan, 376 local cases were filed to date in 2016, 38 031 cases in Thailand, 11 478 in Singapore since January 3, and 222 in Japan since January 4.

     Dengue viruses encompass four serotypes, each of which can lead to DF and severe dengue (dengue haemorrhagic fever). Symptoms of first infection are usually mild. Once recovered, immunity to that serotype will develop, but subsequent infections of other serotypes are more likely to result in severe dengue, which is potentially fatal.

     DF is transmitted to humans by bites of infective Aedes mosquitoes. When a dengue patient is bitten by a mosquito, it is infected and may spread the disease by biting others. In Hong Kong, the principal vector, Aedes aegypti, is not found, but the prevailing species, Aedes albopictus, can also spread the disease.

     There is no locally registered dengue vaccine in Hong Kong. Eliminating stagnant water as breeding sites for mosquitoes and avoiding mosquito bites are key to preventing DF.

     "Apart from general measures, travellers returning from affected areas should apply insect repellent for 14 days upon arrival in Hong Kong. If feeling unwell, seek medical advice promptly and provide travel details to the doctor," the spokesman said.

     The public should call 1823 in case of mosquito problems and may visit the following pages for more information: the DF page of the CHP and the Travel Health Service, the latest Travel Health News, tips for using insect repellents, the CHP Facebook Page and YouTube Channel, and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department's Guidebook on Control and Prevention of Mosquito Breeding.
Ends/Friday, September 9, 2016
Issued at HKT 14:57
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