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Anti-mosquito measures urged on festive occasion
     ​The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (September 15) reminded the public to carry out preventive measures to avoid mosquito bites while celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival.

     "In view of three local dengue fever (DF) cases detected in Hong Kong recently, while celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival, apply DEET-containing mosquito repellents to exposed parts of the body and clothing during outdoor activities, such as visits to parks, grass pitches and beaches," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     "In addition to taking personal protective measures, members of the public should also maintain strict environmental hygiene. Always remove stagnant water after rain in the community and household to prevent mosquitoes from breeding," the spokesman said.

     Regarding the latest imported DF cases, from September 9 to 14, six were recorded and the patients had been to India (three), Cambodia (one), the Philippines (one) and both Singapore and the Philippines (one) during the incubation period. The 92 imported cases so far in 2016 were mainly from Indonesia (31), the Philippines (13) and Thailand (13).

     As for local cases, three have been detected to date in 2016. 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 identified so far.

     Ovitrap indices (OIs) for Aedes albopictus in August showed that the OI in Kwun Tong Central (22.4 per cent) exceeded 20 per cent and reached the alert level. OIs in Tung Chung (18.4 per cent), Kowloon Bay (16.4 per cent), Tseung Kwan O South (15.3 per cent), Cheung Sha Wan (14.8 per cent) and Tseung Kwan O North (12.1 per cent) indicated that infestation of mosquitoes in those areas was slightly more extensive.

     Members of the public 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.

     The public should also stay alert to the DF situation in neighbouring areas during travel in the long weekend holiday.

     In Guangdong, 43 cases were reported in the past week, the highest weekly number since mid-August, including 30 local cases in Chao'an of Chaozhou. This brings the total of cases in 2016 to 184 as of September 11 and about half (93) were local cases. Cases were mainly from Guangzhou, Chaozhou and Shenzhen. In Taiwan, 376 local cases have been filed to date in 2016, 40 026 cases in Thailand, 11 634 in Singapore since January 3, and 237 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 public should call 1823 in case of mosquito problems and may visit the following pages for more information: the DF pages of the CHP and the Travel Health Service, the latest Travel Health Newstips 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/Thursday, September 15, 2016
Issued at HKT 14:40
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