21 August 2019
Vaccination is important to protect children from measles. Photo: Reuters
Vaccination is important to protect children from measles. Photo: Reuters

Hong Kong sees rise in measles cases amid Asia upsurge

Hong Kong has registered 43 cases of measles in the first seven months this year, surpassing the 38 cases for the whole of last year and the highest number since 2009, amid an upsurge in the disease in neighboring countries, the Hong Kong Economic Times reported on Friday.

Of the local cases, five were from domestic helpers, with four of them from the Philippines and one from Indonesia, who later passed on the disease to a family member of her employer.

Between 2009 and 2012, Hong Kong reported an average number of eight to 25 cases annually.

According to employment agencies, it is rather difficult to determine if a helper has received vaccination before coming to Hong Kong. Employers should therefore determine their vaccination status.

There were 43,000 cases in mainland China in the first half of 2014, compared with 28,000 for the whole of last year. In Japan, there were 418 confirmed cases in the first 30 weeks, compared with only 232 cases for the entire 2013. The Philippines reported some 47,000 cases up to June 20 this year, resulting in 77 deaths.

According to Professor Ho Pak-leung from the University of Hong Kong, there could be a small number of measles cases brought into Hong Kong given the increased cross-border travel in recent years and the upsurge in measles cases in Singapore and the mainland last year.

Children in Hong Kong who have not been vaccinated are therefore more prone to be infected, as the disease is airborne, the report said.

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