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Dengue Fever
CHP urges heightened vigilance against mosquito-borne diseases

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (September 30) urged both the public and the healthcare sector to heighten vigilance amid risks of mosquito-borne diseases including Zika Virus Infection, chikungunya fever (CF) and dengue fever (DF).
A. Zika Virus Infection
     According to the latest Zika virus update of the World Health Organization (WHO), mosquito-borne Zika infections acquired by travellers returning from the Maldives were reported by Germany and Spain in the past week. Prior Zika cases in the Maldives were reported in January 2016. To date, 73 countries/areas have reported mosquito-borne transmission since 2007 while 12 have reported person-to-person transmission probably by sexual contact since February 2016.
     "We noted that the WHO highlights that Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand continue to report new cases. As they 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. The public should adopt strict anti-mosquito measures and safe sex during travel. Pregnant women and those planning pregnancy should not travel to affected areas," 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.
     "Locally, our current prevention and control strategy against Zika, including travel health advice, is in line with recommendations of the WHO. We will continue to closely monitor the latest disease situation outside Hong Kong and revise our strategy and measures if necessary," the spokesman stressed.
B. Chikungunya fever
     From September 23 to 29, two imported CF cases were confirmed in Hong Kong and both patients had been to India during the incubation period. Hong Kong has recorded six cases in 2016 so far and all were imported (five from India and one from the Philippines). In 2015 and 2014, one and two imported cases were filed respectively.
     "We would like to draw the public's attention to the CF situation in India, where 19 617 cases have been reported (as of September 25). Of them, 4 649 cases were reported in Delhi, which is remarkably higher than the provisional total number of cases reported in Delhi in 2015 (64 cases)," the spokesman said.
     CF is a mosquito-borne disease caused by the chikungunya virus. It is clinically characterised by fever frequently accompanied by joint pain. Other common signs and symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. Joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually lasts for a few days or may be prolonged to weeks. Most patients recover fully, but in some cases joint pain may persist for several months, or even years.
     Chikungunya virus is transmitted to humans by mosquito bites. Although one vector, Aedes aegypti, is not found in Hong Kong, the other vector, Aedes albopictus, is widely distributed locally. These mosquitoes can be found biting throughout daylight hours, though there may be peaks of activity in the early morning and late afternoon.
C. Dengue fever
     During the period from September 23 to 29, Hong Kong recorded three imported DF cases and the patients had been to India, Indonesia and Vietnam during the incubation period. 
     As of September 29, a total of 103 cases of DF had been confirmed in Hong Kong this year, which include four local cases while the remaining 99 are imported cases.
     In Guangdong, 51 cases were reported in the past week and most (49) were local cases with 26 from Chao'an in Chaozhou. This brings the total of cases in 2016 to 309 as of September 25 and 212 were local cases. Cases were mainly from Chaozhou, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
     In Taiwan, 377 local cases have been filed to date in 2016, 44 396 cases in Thailand, 11 986 in Singapore since January 3, and 257 in Japan since January 4. In the Americas, 1 426 005 have been filed in Brazil and 77 940 in Mexico so far in 2016.
     "Hong Kong is expecting normal to above-normal temperature from September to November. In view of warm temperatures and occasional rain, all sectors and members of the public should spare no effort in mosquito control including removing stagnant water accumulated, which is favourable for mosquitoes to breed in, in both the community and household settings after rain even in autumn to prevent possible transmission of mosquito-borne diseases," the spokesman added.

Ends/Friday, September 30, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:01