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Dengue Fever
April's monthly ovitrap index for Aedes albopictus rises 
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     The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) today (May 15) announced that the monthly ovitrap index for Aedes albopictus for April rose to 5.4 per cent from 1.1 per cent in March, indicating that although the infestation of Aedes albopictus in the areas surveyed was not extensive, there was an upward trend. The FEHD reminded the public to carry out effective prevention and control measures against mosquitoes as the summer weather will help mosquitoes breed quickly.
       
     A spokesman for the FEHD said, "Aedes albopictus is a kind of mosquito that can transmit dengue fever (DF) and Zika virus. In view of the 29 local DF cases recorded in Hong Kong last year and the high prevalence of DF in neighbouring areas, and that Hong Kong's hot and rainy summer is conducive to large-scale mosquito breeding within a short period of time, the community must stay vigilant and work with the Government to carry out effective mosquito control measures."
       
     Among the 57 areas surveyed last month, positive ovitrap indices were recorded in 54 areas, ranging from 0.9 per cent to 20.6 per cent, with the index of Tseung Kwan O North ranked the highest, exceeding the alert level of 20 per cent. As for the port areas, the monthly ovitrap index for Aedes albopictus for April also rose to 0.8 per cent from 0.01 per cent in March.
       
     The spokesman said, "The FEHD has conducted anti-mosquito operations at locations where a positive index was recorded. Additionally, an inter-departmental anti-mosquito response mechanism has been activated in the area with the Area Ovitrap Index (AOI) reaching the alert level for co-ordinating relevant departments and stakeholders to carry out effective mosquito prevention and control measures. Relevant departments have also individually notified the groups that had voluntarily subscribed to the ovitrap rapid alert system. Subscribers have been invited to post specially designed alert notices in the common parts of their premises to urge occupants and staff to carry out mosquito prevention and control measures promptly."
       
     To eliminate early the potential breeding places for mosquitoes ahead of the rainy season, the FEHD and relevant government departments have already launched All-out Anti-mosquito Operations last month. The major measures include carrying out fogging in scrubby areas within a 100-metre radius around residences weekly to kill adult mosquitoes; carrying out inspection, removing stagnant water, applying insecticide and disposing of abandoned water containers weekly to prevent mosquito breeding; and trimming of grass to discourage resting of adult mosquitoes on the site. The FEHD and relevant government departments will continue the above mosquito prevention and control work in areas under their purview, particularly in the area with AOI reaching the alert level, and strengthen publicity and education campaigns in the coming months. 
 
     In addition, rural areas and the vicinity of shrubby areas are the natural habitats for mosquitoes, other insects and animals. Members of the public living in rural areas may install mosquito screens on windows and doors if necessary. Those staying in the natural environment should follow appropriate personal protective measures against mosquitoes, such as avoiding staying in the vicinity of shrubby areas for a long time, wearing light-coloured long-sleeved clothes and trousers and applying DEET-containing insect repellent. Members of the public are reminded to make reports to the government departments via 1823 if mosquito problems are detected.  
      
     The spokesman reiterated that effective mosquito control requires the sustained effort of all parties concerned. The community must work together with the Government to carry out effective mosquito control measures.  
      
     The ovitrap indices for Aedes albopictus in different areas and information on mosquito prevention and control measures are available on the department website at www.fehd.gov.hk. 
  
Ends/Wednesday, May 15, 2019 
Issued at HKT 16:00