Second case of imported Zika virus confirmed in Hong Kong

Zika virus Hong Kong

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) has announced the second confirmed case of imported Zika virus in Hong Kong.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Centre confirmed that a 56-year-old man, with underlying illnesses, had tested positive for the virus.

The patient initially began to display symptoms on November 11, after returning from a trip abroad. He attended Kok General Out-patient Clinic (GPOC) on November 12 and was referred to North District Hospital (NDH) for tests. The patient is reported to be in a stable condition and has been admitted for isolation and management.

Initial investigations revealed that patient had travelled to New York, Antigua and Barbuda, St Maarten and Anguilla between October 13 and November 8, arriving back in Hong Kong on November 10, and recalled being bitten by mosquitoes during his stay in Antigua and Barbuda.

After arriving back in Hong Kong, and before falling ill, the patient spent time alone at his home in Yan Shau Wai, San Tin, Yuen Long until November 12, when he visited San Fung Avenue, Sheung Shui.

Speaking following the diagnosis, Dr Wong Ka-hing, controller of the CHP said, "Upon laboratory confirmation, we immediately commenced epidemiological investigations and informed the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) for vector investigations and control as well as management of the locations concerned for necessary heightened mosquito control and environmental hygiene."

The CHP has also increased checks at boundary control points (BCP) and reinforced training for staff conducting body temperature checks at Hong Kong International Airport and other BCPs.

To date, 75 countries/ areas have reported mosquito-borne Zika transmission since 2007, with 12 reporting person-to-person transmission by sexual contact since 2016.

In light of this latest case, the CHP has reiterated its advice that members of the public should remain vigilant and should check the latest Zika situation in countries that they are planning to travelling to. In addition to adopting general anti-mosquito measures, travellers should also consider avoiding sexual contact or taking additional precautions for six months after returning from an affected areas.

Pregnant women and those planning to fall pregnant are advised to avoid travel to affected areas altogether, due to the link between the disease and microcephaly, a condition where a baby's head does not develop as expected.

Hong Kong's first Zika case was reported in August 2016 and involved a 38-year-old woman who became ill following a trip to the Caribbean island of Saint-Barthelemy.

Image: Wikipedia

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