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Update on number of dengue fever cases

4 September 2015

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (September 4) provided an update on the number of cases of dengue fever (DF) in Hong Kong, and again urged the public to maintain strict environmental hygiene, mosquito control and personal protective measures.

From August 28 to September 3, three additional confirmed cases were recorded. The patients had travelled to Malaysia (one case), India (one case) and the Philippines (one case) during the incubation period.

As of September 3, a total of 71 cases had been confirmed this year, comprising a local case and 70 imported cases.

"We have been closely monitoring the latest DF situation in neighbouring and overseas areas and noted the recent sustained high level of DF activity in southern Taiwan. According to the health authority of Taiwan, there were 1 435 DF cases recorded in one week from August 25 to 31. In 2015, as of September 1, a total of 4 276 cases (with 12 deaths) had been recorded, comprising 4 101 local and 175 imported cases. Among the local cases, 3 508 (86 per cent) were reported in Tainan while 515 (13 per cent) were in Kaohsiung. The number of cases in 2015 is 2.6 times that of 2014 in the corresponding period," a spokesman for the CHP said.

"Regarding popular tourist attractions in Asia, 75 795 DF cases have been recorded in Malaysia so far this year, 59 432 in Thailand, 48 872 in the Philippines, 24 968 in Vietnam, 6 512 in Singapore and 162 in Japan. Turning to neighbouring areas, 54 cases had been recorded in Guangdong as of July, with local cases recorded in Guangzhou and Foshan. The local cases recorded this year were two months earlier than those in 2014. Two were recorded in Macau. In the Americas, 1 319 957 were filed in Brazil and 61 520 in Mexico," the spokesman added.

"Dengue viruses encompass four different serotypes. The symptoms of first infection with one serotype are usually mild, but subsequent infections with other serotypes even years afterward are more likely to result in severe dengue (also known as dengue haemorrhagic fever). Severe dengue is serious and potentially fatal. Without proper treatment, the case fatality rate of severe dengue can exceed 20 per cent," the spokesman said.

"According to the World Health Organization, although clinical trials on humans for some dengue vaccine candidates are ongoing, none are now available and registered with any drug regulatory authorities. Strict environmental hygiene, mosquito control and personal protective measures hence remain the most effective means against DF both locally and during travel," the spokesman added.

Travellers are urged to stay alert to the DF risk of travel destinations before departing and take heed of the preventive measures below:

  • Wear loose, light-coloured, long-sleeved tops and trousers, and use DEET-containing insect repellent on exposed parts of the body and clothing;
  • Avoid using fragrant cosmetics or skin care products and re-apply insect repellents according to instructions in outdoor activities;
  • Before the trip, arrange travel health consultation at least six weeks in advance for any extra measures against mosquito bites; and
  • During the trip, carry a portable bed net and apply permethrin (an insecticide) on it in rural endemic areas. Permethrin should not be applied to skin.

The incubation period of DF ranges from three to 14 days, commonly four to seven days. Anyone feeling unwell after returning from a trip should seek medical advice as soon as possible and provide travel details to their doctors.

Members of the public should also prevent the accumulation of stagnant water and maintain good environmental hygiene:

  • Change the water in vases once a week;
  • Clear the water in saucers under potted plants every week;
  • Cover water containers tightly;
  • Ensure air-conditioner drip trays are free of stagnant water;
  • Put all used cans and bottles into covered dustbins; and
  • Store food and dispose of garbage properly.

Members of the public are reminded to make reports to government departments via the hotline 1823 if mosquito problems are detected, and may visit the pages below for more information:

  Last Revision Date : 4 Sep 2015