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Health Authorities announces investigation progress of a case of dengue fever

Health authorities in Hong Kong continued their investigation on Monday into a case of dengue fever, urging the public to maintain strict hygiene and mosquito control measures.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said it had contacted over 2,600 residents from more than 1,000 households in Tin Shui (1) Estate in Tin Shui Wai, where the dengue patient resided. No additional suspected cases have been identified so far.

The CHP’s further probe revealed that the patient, who works at the Hong Kong International Airport, had occasionally visited the Cathay Cargo Terminal and Airport Freight Forwarding Centre due to operational needs. Her colleagues are currently asymptomatic and under medical surveillance.

Authorities have instructed the management of the relevant premises to strengthen anti-mosquito measures. The CHP and the airport authority will also arrange health talks for staff working in these areas.

The patient recalled being bitten by mosquitoes on a bus while commuting to and from work during the incubation period. Officers inspected the bus operator’s mosquito prevention and control efforts, and the Transport Department has requested the company to enhance its measures.

The CHP held a health talk and offered free dengue fever antibody tests for residents of Tin Shui (1) Estate on Monday evening. Symptoms of the disease include high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph nodes, and rash.

The public has been urged to maintain strict environmental hygiene, mosquito control, and personal protective measures both locally and during travel.

The CHP’s investigations are ongoing.

     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 and 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 pages 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.