CHP investigates local case of dengue fever

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating this evening (August 7) a local case 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.

     The male patient, aged 45 with good past health, has developed high fever, chills, headache and dizziness since July 29. He was sent to the Accident and Emergency Department of Kwong Wah Hospital and was admitted for management on the same day. Upon admission, he developed skin rash over his legs. He has all along been in stable condition and has been discharged today after symptoms subsided.

     His blood sample tested positive for dengue virus upon laboratory testing.

     Initial enquiries revealed that the patient lives in a unit on Cedar Street, Prince Edward, and works in the construction site of West Kowloon Station (WKS) of the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) near MTR Austin Station.

     The patient had no travel history in the incubation period. He recalled frequent mosquito bites at his workplace and also some bites near his residence. His local movements before onset were mainly within his workplace and residence. His home contacts have remained asymptomatic and have been put under medical surveillance. Tracing of his workplace contacts is ongoing.

     "We are working closely with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) to assess and prevent any possible spread of infection. The FEHD's vector investigations, surveillance and control will follow. The Highways Department and MTR Corporation have also been informed for follow-up. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     Officers of the CHP have conducted site visit and field investigations by questionnaire surveys at the patient's residence. Active case finding and arranging blood tests at the patient's workplace will be conducted. A health talk will be held jointly with the FEHD tomorrow (August 8) in Henry G. Leong Yaumatei Community Centre to deliver health advice.

     Persons who have been to the vicinity of WKS of XRL or Cedar Street with DF symptoms should call the CHP's hotline (2125 1133) operating from 9am to 5.45pm tomorrow onwards for laboratory investigation or referral as appropriate.

     "We have informed the Guangdong and Macau health authorities of the case and will issue letters to local doctors and hospitals to alert them to the latest situation," the spokesman added.

     This is the first local case recorded this year. Excluding this case, as of August 3, 59 imported cases had been recorded in 2017, including 18 from Thailand, ten from Sri Lanka and seven from the Philippines.

     In the rainy season, the public should take heed of the following advice on mosquito control:
  • Thoroughly check all gully traps, roof gutters, surface channels and drains to prevent blockage;
  • Scrub and clean drains and surface channels with an alkaline detergent compound at least once a week to remove any deposited mosquito eggs;
  • Properly dispose of refuse, such as soft drink cans, empty bottles and boxes, in covered litter containers;
  • Completely change water of flowers and plants at least once a week. The use of saucers should be avoided if possible;
  • Level irregular ground surfaces before the rainy season;
  • Avoid staying in shrubby areas; and
  • Take personal protective measures such as wearing light-coloured long-sleeved clothes and long trousers and apply insect repellent containing DEET to clothing or uncovered areas of the body when doing outdoor activities.

     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 should call 1823 in case of mosquito problems and may visit the DF pages of the CHP and its Travel Health Service, the latest Travel Health News, tips for using insect repellents, the CHP Facebook Page and YouTube Channel, and the FEHD's Guidebook on Control and Prevention of Mosquito Breeding for more information.

Ends/Monday, August 7, 2017
Issued at HKT 21:57