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CHP announces no new melioidosis infection cases reported today
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (October 19) said that as at yesterday (October 18) no new confirmed melioidosis infection cases had been recorded. The CHP will continue to strengthen its surveillance work in view of the melioidosis cases in recent months. Members of the public should maintain personal and environmental hygiene at all times to prevent melioidosis infection.

     The CHP yesterday announced that a total of 29 melioidosis cases had been recorded this year and 20 of them live in Sham Shui Po. A total of 107 environmental samples in Sham Shui Po were collected by the CHP, and laboratory testing of the collected samples has been completed with all of them testing PCR negative for Burkholderia pseudomallei. After examining the epidemiological and environmental investigations, the CHP considered that transmission by food or products can be ruled out at this stage and there is no evidence at the present moment to suggest the source of infection of the cases came from tap water. The CHP will continue to enhance its surveillance against melioidosis cases together with the Hospital Authority, and appeals again to all doctors and private hospitals in Hong Kong to take note of the relevant situation and suspected cases. Members of the public should seek medical advice promptly if they develop symptoms.

     A spokesman for the CHP reiterated that person-to-person transmission and animal-to-human transmission are rare, but may occur through contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person. Melioidosis bacteria can survive in the local environment and melioidosis cases have been recorded in Hong Kong each year. According to literature, infection cases are more common after typhoons or storms. The bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei of melioidosis in the soil and muddy water may become exposed to the ground after typhoons or storms, and the bacteria would spread easier with strong wind or storms. As such, the number of melioidosis cases may increase.

     Members of the public should take the following preventive measures against infection:
  • Avoid contact with contaminated soil;
  • Wear appropriate protective clothing or footwear when participating in activities with possible contact with soil or water, e.g. use gloves and wear boots;
  • Wash or shower after exposure to contaminated water or soil;
  • Always clean any wounds as soon as possible and cover any cuts or grazes with waterproof dressings;
  • Wash hands with liquid soap and water after handling soil or gardening;
  • Observe food hygiene and avoid drinking raw water; and
  • Travellers can contract the disease through outdoor water sports. The risk of infection can be minimised by avoiding exposure to water sources (such as rivers, ponds or lakes) that might be contaminated.

     ​For more information on melioidosis, please visit the website of the CHP at www.chp.gov.hk/en/healthtopics/content/24/101110.html.
Ends/Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Issued at HKT 18:02
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