CHP investigates imported Mpox case
The case involves a 40-year-old male patient with good past health who had visited Japan during January 14 to 24. He developed oral ulcers on January 31, and developed low grade fever, headache, lymphadenopathy, as well as rash over his hands, trunk and genitalia since February 1. He consulted a general practitioner on that day. He later attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Yan Chai Hospital on February 3 and was subsequently transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital. The patient is isolated in a single isolation room and is now in stable condition. The CHP's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch today confirmed that his samples tested positive for the virus.
An initial investigation revealed that he had high risk exposure during the incubation period amid his stay in Japan. According to the patient, he had not acquainted any Mpox confirmed patients during his overseas stay and had no high risk exposure after returning to Hong Kong. As a precautionary measure, the CHP has arranged two household members of the patient to undergo quarantine and receive post-exposure vaccination. No close contacts have been identified after his onset of symptoms. The CHP's epidemiological investigations of the case are ongoing.
The CHP will report the case to the World Health Organization, health authority of Japan and the relevant authority of the Mainland. Letters will also be sent to doctors and private hospitals reminding them to pay attention to symptomatic patients seeking consultations without contact history. The CHP also urges the public, especially those subject to high risks of exposure, to take precautions and avoid close physical contact with persons or animals suspected of infection. They should seek medical attention as soon as possible if they experience relevant symptoms, including rash, fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle pain, and severe headaches.
The CHP reminded members of the public that Mpox is not transmitted through transient contact with respiratory droplets like COVID-19 and transmission would not occur through general social contact. Proper personal and hand hygiene can help prevent getting infected via contact.
Subsequent to an imported case in September last year, the Government has activated the Alert level of the preparedness and response plan for the disease, reflecting a low immediate health impact on the local population. The Government will continue to assess the risk in view of the latest scientific evidence and situation, and implement corresponding control measures.
The Mpox vaccination programme for high-risk groups commenced on October 5 last year. Under the programme, the following high-risk target groups can receive Mpox vaccination on a voluntary basis:
- Individuals with high risk sexual practices, e.g. having multiple sexual partners, sex workers, having a history of sexually transmitted infection within the past 12 months;
- Healthcare workers responsible for caring of patients with confirmed Mpox;
- Laboratory personnel working with zoonotic pox viruses; and
- Animal care personnel with high risk of exposure in case of Mpox occurrence in animals in Hong Kong.
Currently, high-risk target groups can receive Mpox walk-in vaccination at any one of the DH's six Social Hygiene Service Clinics (SocHS) (namely Wan Chai Male SocHS, Wan Chai Female SocHS, Yau Ma Tei Male SocHS, Yung Fung Shee SocHS, Fanling SocHS and Tuen Mun SocHS). Fees will apply for non-eligible persons. Further information of the clinics including their locations is available at www.dh.gov.hk/english/tele/tele_chc/tele_chc_shcf.html and www.dh.gov.hk/english/tele/tele_chc/tele_chc_shcm.html.
Meanwhile, the DH's Integrated Treatment Centre in Kowloon Bay, and the Hospital Authority's Special Medical Clinics at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital will continue to provide Mpox vaccination service for their clients.
To reduce the risk of infection, members of the public who need to travel to places affected by Mpox should:
- Avoid physical contact with sick persons or animals;
- Wear protective clothing and equipment including gloves and surgical masks when taking care of sick persons or handling animals, and wash hands after these procedures;
- Thoroughly cook all animal products before eating; and
- Seek medical advice promptly in case of any suspicious symptoms.
For more details, please visit the CHP's page on Mpox.
Ends/Saturday, February 4, 2023
Issued at HKT 17:45
Issued at HKT 17:45