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CHP investigates two confirmed Mpox cases
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) said today (July 18) that it is investigating two confirmed Mpox (also known as Monkeypox) cases, and urged the public to heighten vigilance and avoid close physical contact with persons suspected of contracting Mpox. Meanwhile, high-risk target groups are advised to receive Mpox vaccination.

     The first case involves a 20-year-old male patient with good past health. He had developed fever since July 8 and rash since July 10. He visited Princess Margaret Hospital on July 16. According to the patient, he has travelled to Japan during the incubation period. An initial investigation revealed that he had high-risk exposure during his stay in Japan.

     The second case involves a 57-year-old male patient with underlying illness. He had developed rash since July 10 and was referred to Tuen Mun Hospital by a family doctor on July 13. An initial investigation revealed that he had visited Thailand and Macau during the incubation period. The high-risk exposure history of the patient during the incubation period is still under investigation.

     The CHP's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch today confirmed that their samples tested positive for the virus. They are still hospitalised and are both in a stable condition. The CHP has yet identified epidemiological linkages between these two cases. No epidemiological linkages between these two cases and other confirmed cases recorded in Hong Kong earlier are found so far either. The CHP's epidemiological investigations of the cases are ongoing, including contact tracing and infection source investigation.

     The CHP will report the cases to the World Health Organization. The CHP had earlier set up an Mpox telephone hotline (2125 2373). The hotline operates from Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) from 9am to 5pm, which enables those who suspect or are concerned they have had high-risk contact with confirmed patients, in particular men who have sex with men or those who have sexual practices with strangers, to make enquiries and receive relevant health advice. Meanwhile, the CHP reminds 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 reminds members of the public that Mpox is not transmitted through respiratory droplets or aerosols in general, and transmission would not occur through social contact. Proper personal and hand hygiene can help prevent getting infected via contact.

     The Government has activated the Alert level of the preparedness and response plan for the disease in September last year and 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:
  1. Individuals with high-risk sexual practices, e.g. having multiple sexual partners, sex workers, or having a history of sexually transmitted infection within the past 12 months;
  2. Healthcare workers responsible for caring of patients with confirmed Mpox;
  3. Laboratory personnel working with zoonotic pox viruses; and
  4. 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). 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 services for their clients.

     ​​For more details, please visit the CHP's page on Mpox.
Ends/Tuesday, July 18, 2023
Issued at HKT 20:52
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