The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health reported the latest number of cases of dengue fever (DF) on August 11.

From August 4 to 10, the CHP recorded two confirmed imported cases. The patients had been to Vietnam and the Philippines respectively during the incubation period. As of August 10, the 61 imported DF cases recorded so far in 2017 were mainly imported from Thailand (18), followed by Sri Lanka (10) and the Philippines (eight).

Meanwhile, one local case (August 7) and one case under investigation (August 9) have been recorded so far this year.

Public hospitals heighten alertness towards dengue fever

In view of recent local cases of dengue fever, the Central Committee on Infectious Disease and Emergency Responses of the Hospital Authority (HA) convened an ad hoc meeting on 11 August, which was joined by representatives from the Centre for Health Protection (CHP), to discuss the risk assessment and preparedness of public hospitals.

"While the local case is sporadic, according to current risk assessment, there have been more than 60 imported cases this year. The HA has reminded healthcare staff to stay vigilant to identify patients for early diagnosis and treatment amid the peak travelling season," the HA spokesperson said.

To stay ahead of the situation, the following key initiatives were agreed on during the meeting in preparation for the possible risk of the disease being spread in Hong Kong:

1) The HA will closely monitor any increasing trend in dengue fever test requests and their results from hospitals, in addition to the situation of confirmed cases, both local and imported;

2) Laboratory tests for clinical diagnosis of dengue fever are currently provided by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP, while the HA laboratory network will stand by to enhance the capacity of the laboratory test service should the situation warrant it;

3) Designated clinics will be ready for activation in phases if required; and

4) As infected patients are required to stay in a mosquito-free environment, mosquito control measures have been stepped up in public hospitals, alongside enhanced pest control measures in all HA premises as a general mosquito control measure.

Under Secretary for Food and Health inspects mosquito control work in the community

On the other hand, the Under Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Tak-yi Chui, inspected mosquito prevention and control work of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) in Mong Kok and Tin Shui Wai on August 11 and 12 respectively, and appealed to members of the public to strengthen mosquito prevention and control measures at home and avoid mosquito bites.

The Under Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Tak-yi Chui (left), inspected mosquito control measures in Tin Shui Wai on August 12. A Housing Department staff briefed him about the function of a mosquito trapping device installed in the estate.
The Under Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Tak-yi Chui (left), inspected mosquito control measures in Tin Shui Wai on August 12. A Housing Department staff briefed him about the function of a mosquito trapping device installed in the estate.

"One local case of dengue fever (DF) has been recorded recently and another DF case is under investigation in Yau Tsim Mong District. The residences of patients of the two cases are close to each other and we are very concerned about the anti-mosquito work in the district. The FEHD and relevant government departments have already stepped up the anti-mosquito measures within the activity areas of the patients, including collecting samples of Aedes albopictus for laboratory testing to ascertain whether they carry the virus, with a view to tracing the sources of DF infection. Relevant epidemiological investigations and prevention and control work of the DH are ongoing," said Chui.

"In view of two local cases of Japanese encephalitis (JE) recorded in Tin Shui Wai, and the blood donor of the first local case of JE transmitted by blood transfusion also lives in Tin Shui Wai, the government is particularly concerned about the mosquito problem in Tin Shui Wai. The relevant bureaux and government departments have strengthened mosquito control measures in Tin Shui Wai," he continued.

"The Housing Department has stepped up the mosquito prevention and control work in Tin Shui Estate and other relevant housing estates in Tin Shui Wai, including putting in place six additional mosquito trapping devices in Tin Shui Estate with a view to reducing the number of adult mosquitoes so as to lower the risk of contact between mosquitoes and human. However, it must be stressed that setting up of mosquito traps is only an ancillary measure, we must remain vigilant on the routine anti-mosquito programme." MIMS

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