CHP investigates two confirmed Mpox cases
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     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) said today (July 25) 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 32-year-old male patient with good past health. He had developed a rash, vesicles and lymphadenopathy since July 17 and later fever, a headache and myalgia since July 20 on the Mainland. He arrived in Hong Kong on July 23 and visited Queen Elizabeth Hospital on the same day. According to information provided by the patient and an initial investigation, he does not reside in Hong Kong and he had high-risk exposures amid his visit to Italy and France during the incubation period.

     The second case involves another 32-year-old male patient with good past health. He had developed lymphadenopathy since July 21 and a rash since July 22. He visited a private doctor and Tin Shui Wai Hospital yesterday (July 24) and was referred to Tuen Mun Hospital on the same day. An initial investigation revealed that he had high-risk exposure in Hong Kong during the incubation period.

     The CHP's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch confirmed that their samples tested positive for the virus last night and today respectively. They are still hospitalised and are both in 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 have been found so far either. The CHP's epidemiological investigations of the cases are ongoing, including contact tracing and an infection source investigation. The CHP will report the cases to the World Health Organization and the relevant authority of the Mainland.

     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 vaccinations 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.

     ‚ÄčFor more details, please visit the CHP's page on Mpox.

Ends/Tuesday, July 25, 2023
Issued at HKT 18:45

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