More measles cases confirmed, taking total this year to 30

March 27, 2019 16:54
As more measles cases emerge, the Centre for Health Protection has reminded the public that vaccination is the most effective way to ward off the virus. Photo: HKEJ

Hong Kong authorities announced Tuesday that five more people were confirmed to have contracted measles in the city, taking the total number of such cases this year to a multi-year high.

Three of the five new measles patients were airport workers, aged 23 to 41, according to the Department of Health's Centre for Health Protection (CHP).

Of the latest victims among airport workers, two were women while the other person was a male.

The two women had no travel history during the incubation period or communicable period, while the man had traveled to Macau and Zhuhai during the incubation period but had no travel history during the communicable period, the CHP said.

The fourth new case involved a 43-year-old female patient while the fifth victim was a 39-year-old man, the health authority said, reminding the public again that vaccination is the most effective way to prevent the contagious disease.

All of the five patients were in stable condition, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The additional cases confirmed in one day brought the total number of people diagnosed with measles in Hong Kong this year to 25, a multi-year high.

The CHP said eight of the 25 people work at the airport, with two working for a local airline company. None of them work for the government.

On Wednesday, the CHP received notification of some more measles cases, taking the tally for this year to 30. 

After measles cases emerged at the airport last week, the CHP has been closely monitoring and improving the operation and arrangements of the measles vaccination stations at the airport, CHP controller Dr Wong Ka-hing told the media on Tuesday.

Extra manpower has been deployed at the airport for the task, according to Wong, who indicated that the service capacity would be increased from 700 to 1,300 vaccinations daily.

Wong told a radio program Wednesday morning that measles virus is highly contagious and with a long incubation period. Warning of the possibility of more cases emerging at the airport as well in the community in general, the official said the outbreak this time may not end quickly.

Vera Wu Yee-mei, chairwoman of the Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union, revealed in a radio program that it was hard for flight crew to get vaccinated as the allocated quota was always full.

Inquiries by the union have revealed that all of the private clinics providing contractual services to Cathay staff were short of measles vaccines, Wu said.

– Contact us at [email protected]