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HK reports six new imported dengue cases

15 August 2019

The dengue mosquito.
Six new imported dengue fever cases in Hong Kong were reported on Aug 9 by the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health.

The new cases included two patients who had traveled during the incubation period to the Philippines, where the disease has killed more than 700 people since the start of the year, prompting the government to declare dengue a national epidemic.

Two other patients had been to Cambodia, and one each had been to Malaysia and Thailand, the CHP said. It said the new cases were recorded from Aug 2 to Aug 8.

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As a result, the CHP strongly urged the public to maintain strict environmental hygiene, mosquito control and adopt personal protective measures both locally and during travel.

As of Aug 8, a total of 105 cases had been recorded this year, nearly double the 56 cases in the same period last year. All the cases this year were imported, mainly from Thailand with 19, Cambodia 18, and Malaysia 18.

The CHP said in a press release it had been closely monitoring the latest dengue fever situation in neighboring and overseas areas. The disease is endemic in many tropical and subtropical areas of the world.

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The World Health Organization said some Asian countries are experiencing unusually high numbers of dengue fever his time of year.

Detailed information on the latest DF situation in Hong Kong as well as neighboring and overseas countries and areas this year has been uploaded to the CHP website (www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/df_imported_cases_ and_ overseas_figures_eng.pdf).

“Apart from general measures, travelers returning from areas affected by dengue fever should apply insect repellent for 14 days upon arrival in Hong Kong. If feeling unwell, seek medical advice promptly and provide travel details to the doctor,” a spokesman said.

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The CHP urged the public to take heed of the following advice on mosquito control:
• Thoroughly check all gully traps, roof gutters, surface channels and drains to prevent blockage;
• Scrub and clean drains and surface channels with an alkaline detergent compound at least once a week to remove any deposited mosquito eggs;
• Properly dispose of refuse, such as soft drink cans, empty bottles and boxes, in covered litter containers;
• Completely change the water of flowers and plants at least once a week. The use of saucers should be avoided if possible;
• Level irregular ground surfaces before the rainy season;
• Avoid staying in shrubby areas; and
• Take personal protective measures such as wearing light-colored long-sleeved clothes and trousers and apply insect repellent containing DEET to clothing or uncovered areas of the body when doing outdoor activities. DEET is the common name for N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide chemical compound.

The CHP said DEET-containing insect repellents are effective, but the public should take heed of the following tips:
• Read the label instructions carefully first;
• Apply right before entering an area with risk of mosquito bites;
• Apply on exposed skin and clothing;
• Use DEET of up to 30% for pregnant women and up to 10% for children*;
• Apply sunscreen first, then insect repellent; and
• Re-apply only when needed and follow the instructions.

For children who travel to countries or areas where mosquito-borne diseases are endemic or epidemic and where exposure is likely, those aged 2 months or above can use DEET-containing insect repellents with a DEET concentration of up to 30%.
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