CHP investigates one imported case of Zika Virus Infection


     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (April 13) investigating an imported case of Zika Virus Infection which is related to an imported case announced yesterday, and again urged the public to adopt strict anti-mosquito measures during travel. Pregnant women should pay close attention to the infection risk if they travel to affected areas.

     The case involves a 19-year-old male patient with good past health, who had developed fever since April 3, and later presented with generalised skin rash on the following day. He attended the Accident and Emergency Department of United Christian Hospital (UCH) on April 8, and was admitted on the same day for management. He was discharged the following day. The patient, who was the travel collateral of an imported case announced yesterday, had also stayed in Ko Lanta Island, Thailand between March 28 and April 3, and returned to Hong Kong on April 6. He also recalled mosquito bites during his stay at Ko Lanta Island. The CHP arranged the patient to admit UCH again yesterday for management. His blood specimen tested positive for Zika virus. He has been in stable condition all along. His home contacts have remained asymptomatic so far. The contact tracing and follow-up investigation of the CHP are ongoing. The CHP has reported the case to the health authority of Thailand.  

     As regards the situation of Zika virus transmission, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), multiple countries/areas in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia (including Thailand) have recorded with current or previous Zika virus transmissions. The CHP has informed the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department for vector surveillance and control. Zika Virus Infection is a statutorily notifiable infectious disease in Hong Kong. Suspected or confirmed cases must be promptly notified for investigation, control and surveillance.

     A spokesman for the CHP said that, Zika Virus Infection is a mosquito-borne disease. To reduce the risk of infections spread by mosquitoes, apart from general measures, travellers returning from affected areas should apply insect repellent at least 21 days upon arrival in Hong Kong. If feeling unwell, seek medical advice promptly and provide travel details to the doctor.

     The CHP's Port Health Division has been carrying out inspections and health promotions (including reminding travellers to adopt anti-mosquito measures when travelling) at boundary control points (BCPs) to maintain strict environmental hygiene with effective mosquito control, and keeping close contact with relevant stakeholders (e.g. airlines and the travel industry) to provide the latest disease information and health advice at appropriate times. Routine health surveillance on body temperature of inbound travellers at all BCPs is ongoing.

     Zika virus is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. Aedes aegypti, which is currently not found in Hong Kong, is considered the most important vector for Zika virus. Most people infected with Zika Virus Infection are asymptomatic. For patients with symptoms, they commonly present with rash, fever, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise and headache. Zika Virus Infection during pregnancy is a cause of microcephaly and other congenital malformations in the infant, and it can also cause complications such as fetal loss, stillbirth and preterm birth. 

     The public should call 1823 in case of mosquito problems and may visit the following pages for more information: the Dengue Fever page of the CHP and the Travel Health Service, the Zika pages of the CHP and the Travel Health Service, the latest Travel Health News, tips for using insect repellents, and the CHP Facebook Page and YouTube Channel.

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