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CHP continues to actively follow-up on imported malaria cases
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (August 7) said that it has been proactively following-up on the imported malaria cases, which all involve persons coming from Africa. 
     From July 1 to August 6 (as at 2pm), the CHP recorded a total of 75 imported malaria cases aged 25 to 57 arriving in Hong Kong from July 1 to August 5. Sixty-five of them arrived from Guinea and the other 10 from other places in Africa. Among which, two male patients aged 52 and 53 had passed away. As of noon yesterday (August 6), 58 patients infected with malaria are currently hospitalised in public hospital, and among them, one in critical condition, two in serious condition and the remaining in stable condition.

     "Upon risk assessment and investigations, the CHP has put in place a set of measures to proactively following-up on the imported malaria cases. Since August 5, the CHP, together with the Hospital Authority (HA), conducted health screening at Hong Kong International Airport for those persons arriving in Hong Kong who have visited Guinea recently. Those who were suspected to have been infected with malaria and with clinical needs were immediately sent to hospital for treatment. And for the others, the CHP will arrange them to stay in quarantine facility, so that the CHP and the HA can closely monitor and follow-up the conditions of these persons on a daily basis. Those who develop symptoms will be sent to public hospital for treatment," a spokesman for the CHP said.
     In addition, the CHP has been following-up the travel collaterals of the cases and arranged blood tests for them. Those who tested positive were sent to public hospital for appropriate treatment. The above measures can effectively prevent imported malaria cases from entering into the community.
     "Though the risk of local transmission of malaria is extremely low, members of the public should remain vigilance. There are effective drugs against malaria and Hong Kong has sufficient stock of the drugs but early diagnosis and prompt treatment are crucial for treating malaria. As such, strict environmental hygiene, mosquito control and personal protective measures remain the most effective means against malaria both locally and during travel," the spokesman continued.
     Malaria is not transmitted from person to person. Malaria is a communicable disease transmitted by an infected female Anophelinemosquito (malaria vector).

     The Anopheline mosquito in Hong Kong include Anopheles minimus and Anopheles jeyporiensis. According to the malaria vector surveillance information of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), the two types of Anopheline mosquitos have not been found in urban areas in Hong Kong in recent years. Apart from the breeding of Anopheles jeyporiensis near Tai Lam Chung Reservoir in 2021, there have not been any spots with Anopheles minimus or Anopheles jeyporiensis breeding in the past 10 years. Since imported malaria cases were found at quarantine hotels, the authority would follow-up on the mosquito infestation of relevant locations and step up anti-mosquito work on a needs basis. 

     Common symptoms of malaria include fever, chills, headache, muscle pain and weakness, cough, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Severe malaria is serious and potentially fatal without proper treatment.

     Travellers are urged to be alert to the malaria risk of travel destinations before departing and to take heed of the preventive measures below:
• Wear loose, light-coloured, long-sleeved tops and trousers, and use DEET-containing insect repellent on exposed parts of the body and clothing;
• Avoid using fragrant cosmetics or skin-care products and re-apply insect repellent according to instructions during outdoor activities;
• Before the trip, arrange a travel health consultation at least six weeks in advance for any extra measures against mosquito bites;
• During the trip, carry a portable bed net and apply permethrin (an insecticide) on it in rural endemic areas. Permethrin should not be applied to the skin; and
• After returning from malaria endemic areas, continue to apply insect repellent for 14 days.

     The incubation period of malaria varies with different species of Plasmodium. This usually ranges from seven to 30 days but may be up to months or even longer after the bite of an infected Anopheline mosquito. Anyone feeling unwell after returning from a trip should seek medical advice as soon as possible and provide travel details to their doctor.

     Members of the public should also prevent the accumulation of stagnant water and maintain good environmental hygiene:
• Change the water in vases once a week;
• Clear the water in saucers under potted plants every week; 
• Cover water containers tightly;
• Ensure air-conditioner drip trays are free of stagnant water;
• Put all used cans and bottles into covered dustbins; and 
• Store food and dispose of garbage properly.

     Members of the public are reminded to make reports to government departments via the hotline 1823 if mosquito problems are detected, and may visit these pages for more information: the malaria page of the CHP, 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.
Ends/Sunday, August 7, 2022
Issued at HKT 11:30
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