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Government elaborates on Mpox control strategy in Hong Kong and urges public to maintain vigilance against Mpox
     In response to media enquiries and reports about the isolation arrangement for Mpox patients, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (August 18) emphasised that the key control strategies for Mpox are in line with the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO), and are necessary at this stage to safeguard public health in Hong Kong.

     Currently, confirmed Mpox cases would be isolated/cohorted together in the isolation wards of public hospitals, until all infectious lesions are resolved and the patients become non-infectious. This is to eliminate any chance that confirmed Mpox cases could further spread the disease in the community and to ensure that the public would not be exposed to the risk of Mpox infection.

     "The suggestion by some quarters that Mpox infections pose little health hazard and transmission risk, and the inference that the control measures currently in place are disproportionate or unnecessary, are counterproductive to stopping the spread of the Mpox infection in Hong Kong and are untenable and irresponsible from the public health perspective," a Government spokesman said.

     "The WHO recommends transmission-based precautions for suspected or confirmed Mpox cases; screening, triage, early recognition and isolation measures in health facilities. Containment approach based on the WHO's recommendation aiming to cut transmission links in the community has also been adopted by other health authorities," the spokesman added.

     For hospital isolation, the Hospital Authority (HA) is committed to providing comprehensive and effective treatment for Mpox patients, including the appropriate prescription of antiviral drugs based on their individual clinical needs. In addition, if necessary, public hospitals will also facilitate psychological assessments and management for Mpox patients. In general, the HA would arrange for Mpox patients to stay in the same room for the purpose of isolation. The sharing of bathroom facilities among patients suffering from the same infectious disease etiology is in accordance with infection control principle, and will not affect individual recovery progress or disease control strategy.

     As at yesterday (August 17), a total of 32 Mpox cases were reported to the CHP. An upsurge of cases is observed starting from July with 24 cases (75 per cent) reported since then. The Government will continue to assess the risk and adjust corresponding prevention and control measures for Mpox according to the latest scientific evidence and developments, as well as the latest recommendations from the WHO.

     The spokesman added, "Vaccination is an effective way to prevent Mpox. Members of the public are also strongly advised against practising high-risk sexual activities, including unprotected sex, promiscuity or sex with unknown persons."

     The Mpox vaccination programme for high-risk groups commenced on October 5 last year. As at August 17, a total of over 11 700 doses have been administered. The spokesman strongly appeals to high-risk individuals to receive Mpox vaccination. Free Mpox vaccination is available at the designated Mpox vaccination centre (situated at 2/F, CHP building, 147C Argyle Street, Mong Kok) by appointment through email (mpv_booking@dh.gov.hk) or telephone booking line (2547 1900) during office hours. They can also receive Mpox walk-in vaccinations at all of the DH's Social Hygiene Service Clinics. 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 HA's Special Medical Clinics at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital will continue to provide Mpox vaccination services for their clients.

     The Government also reminded 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 rashes, fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle pain, and severe headaches.
Ends/Friday, August 18, 2023
Issued at HKT 17:30
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