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CHP investigates imported case of Zika Virus Infection
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating an imported case of Zika Virus Infection this evening (April 26), and again urged the public to adopt strict anti-mosquito measures and safe sex during travel. Pregnant women and those planning pregnancy should not travel to Zika-affected areas.

     The female patient, aged 31 with good past health, presented with headache, sore throat, nausea and vomiting since April 21 and consulted a private doctor on April 22. She developed generalised skin rash since April 23. She attended Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital on April 24 and was admitted on the same day for management. She has been in a stable condition all along and has now been put under isolation.

     Her urine specimen tested positive for Zika virus.

     Initial enquiries revealed that the patient had travelled to Ecuador and Peru on April 8 and returned to Hong Kong on April 21. She could not recall mosquito bites during travel or in Hong Kong. Ecuador and Peru are classified as areas with new introduction or re-introduction with ongoing transmission of Zika Virus Infection by the World Health Organization (WHO).

     Locally, she mainly stayed in her residence in Fu Cheong Court, Fortune Plaza, Tai Po. Her travel collaterals and home contacts have remained asymptomatic so far.

     The Controller of the CHP, Dr Wong Ka-hing, announced the case in a briefing this evening. He said, "Upon laboratory confirmation, we immediately commenced epidemiological investigations and informed the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department for vector surveillance and control.

     "Hong Kong remains vigilant against Zika Virus Infection and the Alert Response Level under the Preparedness and Response Plan for Zika Virus Infection remains in place. According to the WHO, 18 countries/areas in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia are classified as Category 1 or 2 which are considered to have ongoing Zika virus transmission. The public should heighten vigilance during travel. Doctors should stay alert to patients with compatible symptoms and travel history," Dr Wong said.

     "We will report the case to the WHO and the national, Guangdong and Macau health authorities and will continue to maintain close liaison with them on the latest developments. We will issue letters to doctors and hospitals to alert them to the latest situation," Dr Wong added.

     The CHP's Port Health Office (PHO) introduced a new requirement on aircraft disinsection for all inbound aircraft from Zika-affected areas starting from noon today to prevent importation of diseases through infected mosquitoes. As of 5pm today, no irregularities had been detected upon inspection.

     The PHO has stepped up inspection and health promotion at boundary control points (BCPs) to maintain strict environmental hygiene with effective mosquito control and has been working closely with the travel industry on the latest disease information and health advice.

     "Routine health surveillance on body temperature of inbound travellers at all BCPs is ongoing. However, infected persons are mainly asymptomatic. Therefore, we again urge those arriving from Zika-affected areas to apply insect repellent for at least 21 days upon arrival to reduce the risk of transmission," Dr Wong said.

     Apart from general measures on preventing mosquito bites and mosquito breeding, the public should take heed of special notes below:

A. Travelling abroad
  • If going to affected areas, travellers, especially those with immune disorders or severe chronic illnesses, should consult 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 rash or fever, seek medical advice promptly and provide travel details to the doctor;

B. Sexual transmission
  • Consider not having sex during travel to affected areas, or else condoms should be used;
  • Those arriving from affected areas should consider not having sex for at least six months upon arrival, or else condoms should be used;

C. Pregnant women
  • Pregnant women and those planning pregnancy should not travel to affected areas. All travellers including pregnant women should use mosquito repellent containing DEET during travel and for at least 21 days upon arrival;
  • Attend antenatal follow-up regularly and provide travel history to the doctor;
  • Observe for compatible symptoms and seek medical advice as soon as possible if feeling unwell; and
  • Abstain from sex with a partner who has travelled to affected areas, or else condoms should be used throughout the pregnancy.

     The public may visit the Zika pages of the CHP and the Travel Health Service, the Outbound Travel Alert page of the Security Bureau, anti-mosquito precautions for women and the WHO's Zika virus classification for more information.
Ends/Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Issued at HKT 19:33
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