Govt on alert after more measles cases reported

March 25, 2019 16:08
The Centre for Health Protection said the latest measles cases involve a 41-year-old man working for an airline and a 27-year-old man with a good health record in the past. Photo: HKEJ

Health authorities are stepping up efforts to contain a potential outbreak of measles in Hong Kong.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) under the Department of Health said on Sunday the latest measles case involves a 41-year-old man working for an airline, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The man is reportedly a pilot of Cathay Pacific.

According to the CHP, the male patient had been on nine flights covering Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore and Bangkok between March 8 and 16.

The center, upon notification of the case, immediately started epidemiological investigations and carried out relevant contact tracing, a CHP spokesman said. 

Initial investigations revealed that no contact has shown measles-related symptoms so far. No high-risk contacts such as immuno-compromised persons, young children aged below one and pregnant women have been identified.

The CHP spokesman said a vaccination station has been set up at the airport since Saturday to provide vaccination for workers if necessary.

The CHP is also investigating another case involving a 27-year-old man with a good health history.

The man had no travel history during the communicable period but had traveled to Japan during the incubation period, the center said.

Media reports said the man had traveled to Fukuoka.

After developing fever on March 19 and rashes the following day, he sought medical advice at the Accident and Emergency Department of Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Thursday and was consequently admitted.

The man’s throat swab specimen tested positive for the measles virus but he is currently in stable condition. His home contact has remained asymptomatic so far and has been put under medical surveillance.

At least 163 people had been vaccinated at the airport as of Sunday noon with one more vaccination station to be added outside the restriction zone from Monday to Friday, while about 200 airport staff have attended a health talk aimed at raising risk awareness.

The CHP spokesman said the incubation period of measles ranges from seven to 21 days, and contacts “who are not immune to measles, may develop relevant symptoms, such as fever, skin rashes, cough, runny nose and red eyes, in the incubation period”.

CHP controller Dr Wong Ka-hing said on Monday morning about 400 airport workers have been vaccinated since last Friday, adding that the process would be accelerated.

The number of cases of people affected by the current measles outbreak has increased to 20.

Nine of them are imported cases, Wong said, although he believes more imported cases are likely to be confirmed later.

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