CHP notified of first imported case of Zika Virus Infection in Beijing
16 May 2016
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (May 16) received notification of the first imported case of Zika Virus Infection in Beijing from the National Health and Family Planning Commission, and again urged the public to adopt strict anti-mosquito measures and safe sex during travel. Pregnant women and those planning pregnancy should not travel to affected areas.
The female patient aged 29 from Yantai, Shandong, travelled to Venezuela in April and developed fever and skin rash on May 11. She returned to Beijing on May 14, was hospitalised for management and was in stable condition.
To date, 18 imported cases of Zika Virus Infection have been notified in the Mainland.
The DH's Port Health Office has stepped up inspection at boundary control points (BCPs) to maintain strict environmental hygiene with effective mosquito control. Port Health Inspectors have reinforced training for contractors of BCPs, including the airport, harbour ports and ground crossings, on port hygiene and pest control for effective vector prevention. Health promotion in BCPs has been enhanced through pamphlets and posters to alert travellers to necessary measures against Zika.
"Routine health surveillance on the body temperature of inbound travellers at all boundary control points is ongoing. Suspected cases will be referred to healthcare facilities for follow-up. However, at present, around 70 to 80 per cent of infected people are asymptomatic and most can recover fully. Therefore, we again urge those arriving from Zika-affected areas to apply insect repellent for 14 days upon arrival to reduce the risk of transmission," a spokesman for the DH said.
The DH has been working closely with the travel industry and stakeholders, especially agents operating tours in Zika-affected areas and personnel receiving travellers in those areas (particularly pregnant women), to regularly update them on the latest disease information and health advice.
As long as there is international travel, there is always a risk of the introduction of the Zika virus to Hong Kong. As asymptomatic infection is very common and the potential vector, Aedes albopictus, is present locally, there is also the risk of local spread if Zika is introduced to Hong Kong.
The public should pay special attention to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission (affected areas) and observe the ongoing health advice and special notes during travel.
The DH has been maintaining close liaison with the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as overseas, neighbouring and Mainland health authorities to closely monitor the latest developments of Zika.
Locally, no human Zika cases have been reported to the CHP to date.
To prevent Zika Virus Infection, in addition to general anti-mosquito measures, the DH draws the public's attention to the special notes below:
A. Travelling abroad
- If going to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission (affected areas), travellers, especially those with immune disorders or severe chronic illnesses, should arrange a consultation with a doctor at least six weeks before the trip, and take extra preventive measures to avoid mosquito bites;
- Those arriving from affected areas should apply insect repellent for 14 days upon arrival. If feeling unwell, e.g. having fever, they should seek medical advice as soon as possible, and provide travel details to a doctor;
- Travellers should consider not having sex during travel to affected areas, or else condoms should be used;
- Male travellers returning from affected areas:
(ii) Without compatible symptoms should not have sex for at least two months upon return, or else the use of condoms should be considered;
B. Pregnant women and those preparing for pregnancy
- Pregnant women and those preparing for pregnancy should not travel to affected areas. Those who must travel should seek medical advice from their doctor before the trip, adopt contraception if appropriate, strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip, and consult and reveal their travel history to their doctor if symptoms develop after the trip. Women preparing for pregnancy are advised to continue to adopt contraception for at least two months after returning from affected areas;
C. Special notes for prevention of sexual transmission regarding adverse pregnancy outcomes
- Pregnant women should not have sex with male partners who have travelled to affected areas, or else condoms should be used throughout the pregnancy;
- Any male traveller returning from affected areas should:
(ii) Use a condom for at least six months if his female partner may get pregnant.
The public may visit the pages below for more disease information and health advice:
- The CHP's Zika page (This link will open in a new windowwww.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/43086.html);
- The Zika page of the DH's Travel Health Service (This link will open in a new windowwww.travelhealth.gov.hk/english/popup/popup_zika.html);
- The Outbound Travel Alert page of the Security Bureau (This link will open in a new windowwww.sb.gov.hk/eng/ota);
- Anti-mosquito precautions for women (This link will open in a new windowwww.fhs.gov.hk/english/health_info/woman/30014.html); and
- The WHO Zika virus situation reports (This link will open in a new windowwww.who.int/emergencies/zika-virus/en).