Hong Kong issues dengue alert after confirmed infection

August 08, 2016 09:49
Dengue is transmitted to humans by the aedes mosquito. The first symptoms may be mild but subsequent infections could be fatal if not treated. Photo: Iwww.iflscience.com

Hong Kong health authorities are investigating a confirmed case of dengue fever to see if the infection was locally acquired.

"As the patient had both travel history and local movements... it cannot be ruled out at this stage that the case was locally acquired," a spokesman for the Center for Health Protection (CHP), said.

He said CHP is working with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to assess and prevent any possible spread of infection.

Meanwhile, officials are warning the public to maintain strict environmental hygiene, avoid mosquitoes and take personal protective measures.

The female patient, aged 60 with good past health, developed fever, myalgia, red eyes and skin rashes between July 29 and Aug. 1.

She went to two private doctors in Central on July 31 and Aug. 2, respectively, and was admitted to a private hospital on Aug. 4.

Her blood specimen tested positive for the dengue virus, CHP said in a press release. She is in stable condition.

The patient lives in Caine Road, Central and visits the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens regularly.

She had travelled alone to Guangzhou on July 25. She recalled being bitten by mosquitoes during those visits.

Her family members have not shown any dengue symptoms.

There have been 69 confirmed cases of dengue infection this year, all but one were acquired abroad.

Of 114 cases in 2015, 110 had been imported and two were acquired locally.  

Dengue fever is transmitted to humans through the bites of infective female aedes mosquitoes.

The first symptoms are usually mild but subsequent infections are more likely to result in severe dengue, also known as dengue haemorrhagic fever.

Severe dengue is serious and potentially fatal. Without proper treatment, the case fatality rate of severe dengue can exceed 20 per cent.

"At present, there is no locally registered dengue vaccine available in Hong Kong. Strict environmental hygiene, mosquito control and personal protective measures remain the most effective means against DF both locally and during travel," the CFP spokesman said

Members of the public are advised to maintain environmental hygiene and observe the following:

1) Change the water in vases once a week

2) Clear the water in saucers under potted plants every week

3) Cover water containers tightly

4) Ensure air-conditioner drip trays are free of stagnant water

5) Put all used cans and bottles into covered dustbins

6) Store food and dispose of garbage properly.

-- Contact us at [email protected]