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Update on dengue fever
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (April 5) reported the latest number of dengue fever (DF) cases, and urged the public to maintain strict environmental hygiene, mosquito control and personal protective measures both locally and during travel.

     From March 29 to yesterday (April 4), the CHP recorded two imported DF cases. The patients had been to Malaysia and Indonesia respectively during the incubation period.

     As of yesterday, 12 imported cases of DF had been recorded in 2024. In 2023, 62 imported cases of DF were recorded.
     According to the World Health Organization, the global incidence of DF has markedly increased over the past two decades, posing a substantial public health challenge. Since the beginning of 2023, ongoing transmission, combined with an unexpected spike in DF cases, has resulted in close to a historic high of over 5 million cases and more than 5 000 dengue-related deaths reported in over 80 countries/territories. Several countries in Southeast Asia, including Bangladesh and Thailand, have reported a notable surge in dengue cases in 2023 compared to previous years, whereas the most affected countries in the Western Pacific region are the Philippines and Vietnam. As of March 25, 2024, the Americas, including Brazil, Argentina and Peru, have recorded over 3 million cases, reaching a record number of cases. As such, members of the public, while travelling abroad, should stay vigilant and carry out effective mosquito prevention and control measures. Detailed information on the latest DF situation in Hong Kong, as well as neighbouring and overseas countries and areas, has been uploaded to the CHP website (www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/df_imported_cases_and_overseas_figures_eng.pdf).
     "Apart from general measures, travellers returning from areas affected by DF should apply insect repellent for 14 days upon arrival in Hong Kong. If feeling unwell, seek medical advice promptly and provide travel details to the doctor," a spokesman for the CHP said.
     The public should take heed of the following advice on mosquito control:
• Thoroughly check all gully traps, roof gutters, surface channels and drains to prevent blockage;
• Scrub and clean drains and surface channels with an alkaline detergent compound at least once a week to remove any deposited mosquito eggs;
• Properly dispose of refuse, such as soft drink cans, empty bottles and boxes, in covered litter containers;
• Completely change the water of flowers and plants at least once a week. The use of saucers should be avoided if possible;
• Level irregular ground surfaces before the rainy season;
• Avoid staying in shrubby areas; and
• Take personal protective measures such as wearing light-coloured long-sleeved clothes and trousers and apply insect repellent containing DEET to clothing or uncovered areas of the body when doing outdoor activities.
     DEET-containing insect repellents are effective and the public should take heed of the tips below:
• Read the label instructions carefully first;
• Apply right before entering an area with risk of mosquito bites;
• Apply on exposed skin and clothing;
• Use DEET of up to 30 per cent for pregnant women and up to 10 per cent for children*;
• Apply sunscreen first, then insect repellent; and
• Re-apply only when needed and follow the instructions.
     * For children who travel to countries or areas where mosquito-borne diseases are endemic or epidemic and where exposure is likely, those aged 2 months or above can use DEET-containing insect repellents with a DEET concentration of up to 30 per cent.
     The public should call 1823 in case of mosquito problems and may visit the following pages for more information: the DF page of the CHP and the Travel Health Service, the latest Travel Health Newstips for using insect repellents, and the CHP Facebook Page and YouTube Channel
Ends/Friday, April 5, 2024
Issued at HKT 17:15
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