Government gazettes inclusion of melioidosis as statutorily notifiable infectious disease under Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance

     The Government today (November 11) published the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 1) (No. 2) Notice 2022 in the Gazette to include melioidosis as a statutorily notifiable infectious disease under Schedule 1 to the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance (Cap. 599).
     According to the Prevention and Control of Disease Regulation (Cap. 599A), medical practitioners are required to notify the Department of Health (DH) if they have reason to suspect the existence of a case of any of the scheduled infectious diseases set out in Schedule 1 to Cap. 599. Prompt notification is an important element in the surveillance, prevention and control of the spread of infectious diseases.
     "Person-to-person transmission and animal-to-human transmission are rare, but melioidosis bacteria can survive in the local environment. As melioidosis is endemic in Hong Kong with the presence of the bacteria in the environment that may cause potential outbreaks, and there has been a recent increase in the number of cases (especially in Sham Shui Po), the Government thus proposed to include melioidosis in Schedule 1 to Cap. 599 to enhance surveillance and prevention work," a spokesman for the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the DH said.
     "Doing so would facilitate early intervention should there be any suspected outbreak identified in the community. It would also provide more accurate information about the clinical characteristics and distribution of melioidosis in Hong Kong," the spokesman added.
     To enhance surveillance against melioidosis cases, the CHP has been working closely with the Hospital Authority, and has earlier reminded doctors in Hong Kong to enhance vigilance on suspected cases and promptly refer patients (especially those with chronic illnesses) to hospitals for treatment, and make reports to the CHP according to the test results for the bacteria. The CHP has once again informed all doctors and private hospitals in Hong Kong of the relevant situation in its letter today and reminded them to continue to take note of the suspected cases.
     The Notice will be tabled at the Legislative Council on November 16.

Ends/Friday, November 11, 2022
Issued at HKT 15:00