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Use insect repellents to prevent dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (June 16) again urged the public to use insect repellents on exposed parts of the body and clothing, and to re-apply according to label instructions to prevent mosquito-borne diseases including dengue fever (DF) and Japanese encephalitis (JE).

     "In view of the first JE case in 2017 recently recorded, on top of anti-mosquito measures, the public should avoid going to rural areas from dusk till dawn when mosquitoes transmitting JE virus are most active. While the JE vector Culex tritaeniorhynchus breed in large water bodies such as rice paddies, the DF vector Aedes albopictus can breed in small amounts of water such as stagnant water in small containers. Heightened vigilance is warranted in the rainy season," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     From June 9 to 15, the CHP recorded five confirmed DF cases and the patients had been to Sri Lanka (two epidemiologically linked cases), Thailand (two cases) and India (one case) in the incubation period. As of yesterday (June 15), among the 41 cases recorded in 2017, about 30 per cent (13) were imported from Thailand, followed by Sri Lanka (seven), Indonesia and the Philippines (five each). No local cases have been recorded so far.

     Dengue remains endemic in some areas in Asia. In Guangdong, there were 42 cases this year as of June 14. In 2017, 13 961 cases were recorded in Thailand, 1 242 in Singapore and 75 in Japan (since January 2).

     Locally, while the survey of the ovitrap index for Aedes albopictus in May is in progress, indices of a number of areas have already reached Level 3 (exceeding 20 per cent) or Level 4 (exceeding 40 per cent) i.e. infestation exceeded one-fifth or almost half of the area surveyed respectively.

     Members of the public in these areas, especially residents and workers, should check their household or workplace for potential mosquito breeding sites and remove them, and leave no stagnant water.

     To reduce the risk of infections spread by mosquitoes, apart from general measures, travellers returning from affected areas should apply insect repellent for 14 days (DF) or at least 21 days (Zika Virus Infection) upon arrival in Hong Kong. If feeling unwell, seek medical advice promptly and provide travel details to the doctor. DEET-containing insect repellents are effective and the public should take heed of the tips below:
  • Read carefully the label instructions first;
  • Apply right before entering an area with risk of mosquito bites;
  • Apply on exposed skin and clothing;
  • Use DEET of up to 30 per cent for pregnant women and up to 10 per cent for children;
  • Apply sunscreen first, then insect repellent; and
  • Re-apply only when needed and follow the instructions.

     The public may refer to the CHP's tips for using insect repellents for details.
Ends/Friday, June 16, 2017
Issued at HKT 15:02
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