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CHP closely monitors Zika Virus Infections in Thailand and Malaysia

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (September 16) closely monitoring the latest situation of Zika Virus Infection in Thailand and Malaysia, and again urged the public to adopt strict anti-mosquito measures and safe sex during travel. Pregnant women and those planning pregnancy should not travel to affected areas.

     According to the health authority of Thailand, 23 cases were recorded in the past week in six city/provinces, including Bangkok, Nong Khai, Chanthaburi, Phetchabun, Nakhon Ratchasima and Lopburi, bringing the total of cases to 279 in 2016 to date. In Malaysia, the health authority recorded six cases from September 1 to 13. 

     "The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam as countries reporting cases since 2007 with possible endemic transmission or evidence of local infections in 2016. As these Southeast Asian countries are popular tourist attractions in close proximity to Hong Kong, the public should be vigilant on the latest situation during travel while doctors should stay alert in case of patients with compatible symptoms and travel history," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     "We are maintaining close liaison with the WHO as well as overseas, neighbouring and Mainland health authorities to closely monitor the latest developments," the spokesman said.

     Apart from general measures on preventing mosquito bites and mosquito breeding, the public should take heed of the special notes below:

A. Travelling abroad

• If going to affected areas, travellers, especially those with immune disorders or severe chronic illnesses, should consult a doctor at least six weeks before the trip and take extra preventive measures to avoid mosquito bites;
• Those arriving from affected areas should apply insect repellent for at least 21 days upon arrival. If feeling unwell, such as having fever, seek medical advice promptly and provide travel details to the doctor;

B. Sexual transmission

• Consider not having sex during travel to affected areas, or else condoms should be used;
• Those arriving from affected areas should consider not having sex for at least six months upon arrival, or else condoms should be used;

C. Pregnant women

• Pregnant women and those planning pregnancy should not travel to affected areas. All travellers including pregnant women should use mosquito repellent containing DEET during travel and for at least 21 days upon arrival;
• Attend antenatal follow-up regularly and provide travel history to the doctor;
• Observe for compatible symptoms and seek medical advice as soon as possible if feeling unwell; and
• Abstain from sex with a partner who has travelled to affected areas, or else condoms should be used throughout the pregnancy.

     The public may visit the following pages for more information: the Zika page of the CHP and the Travel Health Service, the Outbound Travel Alert page of the Security Bureau, anti-mosquito precautions for women and the WHO's Zika virus situation reports.

Ends/Friday, September 16, 2016 
Issued at HKT 10:49