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Press Release

Confirmed cholera case under investigation

26 July 2012

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (July 26) investigating a confirmed case of cholera and reminds people to observe good personal, food and environmental hygiene, whether in Hong Kong or travelling abroad.

The case involves a 62-year-old woman who developed diarrhoea since July 20. She sought medical consultation at Queen Elizabeth Hospital on July 24 and was discharged on the next day.

Laboratory tests today showed that culture of her stool specimen yielded Vibrio cholerae 01 Ogawa. She was admitted to the isolation ward of Queen Elizabeth Hospital today and is now in stable condition.

The CHP's investigation revealed that the patient had travelled to India between June 14 and July 19. She lives in Kowloon City and her home contact has no symptoms of cholera.

This is the first case of cholera reported this year. There were two cholera cases in 2011, nine cases in 2010 and none in 2009.

A CHP spokesman said, "Whether in Hong Kong or travelling abroad, people should pay attention to hygiene and take measures to prevent cholera and food-borne infection."

People are urged to:

* Wash and cook seafood thoroughly before eating, particularly crustaceans and bivalves such as shrimps, crabs, oysters and clams;
* Wash hands before eating and after going to the toilet;
* Handle raw and cooked food with separate utensils to prevent cross-contamination;
* Keep raw and cooked food separately;
* Store food in a refrigerator (at 4 degrees Celsius or below) and thoroughly reheat leftover food before eating; and
* Keep the environment clean.

When travelling outside Hong Kong, they should:

* Always wash hands before eating and after going to the toilet;
* Eat only thoroughly cooked food and food from sealed packs or cans;
* Avoid cold dishes such as salad and ice cream;
* Drink only boiled water, canned or bottled drinks, and pasteurised milk or dairy products;
* Do not add ice to drinks and do not drink fresh fruit juice that has been prepared beforehand;
* Do not patronise illegal food hawkers; and
* Wash fruit thoroughly before eating and do not eat fruit that has already been peeled or cut open.

For more preventive measures against cholera, people may visit the CHP's website ( ).

26 July 2012