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  • Sep 17, 2014
  • Updated: 11:36am
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HEALTH

High alert for Ebola needed in Hong Kong, health minister says after emergency meeting

Emergency meeting on contingency plans in case of outbreak; woman tests negative

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 July, 2014, 4:54pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 July, 2014, 6:18pm

Hong Kong's health authorities stepped up surveillance against the deadly Ebola virus yesterday as a Hong Kong woman who fell ill after visiting Kenya tested negative for the disease.

This came as a British man quarantined with fever after a flight from Nigeria tested negative in Birmingham, England, for the virus that is spreading through West Africa in the worst outbreak in history.

Hong Kong should remain "highly alert" for Ebola, health minister Dr Ko Wing-man said after leading an emergency meeting with experts to discuss contingency plans in the event of an outbreak.

READ MORE: Ebola epidemic unlikely outside West Africa, says scientist who helped discover deadly virus

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the outbreak in Africa posed "a very serious threat" to the United Kingdom.

Watch: What is the Ebola virus?

Since March, there have been 1,201 cases of Ebola and 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

"There are no direct flights from West Africa to Hong Kong, but infectors could still be coming to the city by plane," Ko said.

"Since Ebola is a very infectious disease, suspected cases will be put into isolation as soon as they are identified."

The chairman of the Centre for Health Protection's scientific committee on infection control, Dominic Tsang Ngai-chong, said public hospitals would begin to report and test all those who developed fever after travelling to three affected countries in Africa within 21 days.

The patients would be placed in one of 59 isolation rooms at Princess Margaret Hospital in Kwai Chung while their Ebola test results were pending.

Cathay Pacific Airways said it was monitoring the situation although it had no direct or connecting flights to West Africa. "We will continue to coordinate closely with health authorities in Hong Kong and in all the airports that we operate flights to," a spokeswoman said.

The 39-year-old Hong Kong woman who tested negative developed a fever on Tuesday, a source at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Jordan said. She was in stable condition in isolation.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

5355a6c5-ef2c-4350-a96e-08dd0a3209ca
Why all diseases spread rapidly in HK than in other countries? HK was tye worst affected with SARS and with the way the government handled it in initial stages with false assurances leaves many worried about the prospect of Ebola hitting Hong Kong.
Despite several advisories in TV, its is quite common to see sneezers who do not cover their mouth and spitters who decorate the streets and lots of them are local people.
oxymoron13
END TIME SIGNS
1. False Bible teachers would be money hungry. They would be smooth talkers, have many followers, and slur the Christian faith (2 Peter 2:1-3) See some at: Fakemessiah.com
2. Homosexuality would be increasingly evident at the end of the age (2 Timothy 3:3)
3. Earthquakes would be in diverse places (Matthew 24:7)
4. Stress would be part of living (2 Timothy 3:1)
5. Many wars would erupt (Matthew 24:6)
6. People would forsake the Ten Commandments as a moral code, committing adultery, stealing, lying, and killing (Matthew 24:12)
7. There would be a cold religious system, in denying God's power (2 Timothy 3:5)
8. Men would substitute fantasy in place of Christian truth (2 Timothy 4:4). This is so evident at Christmas when the birth of the Savior is lost behind the myth of Santa Claus.
9. DEADLY DISEASES would be prevalent (Matthew 24:7).
11. The institution of marriage would be forsaken by many (1 Timothy 4:3)
12. There would be an increase in famines (Matthew 24:7)
caractacus
Better to err on the safe side than be sorry.
zhelu1985@live.com
All wonderful things come from Africa.
oregon222
Yes, including humans.
caractacus
ex Africa semper aliquid novi (there's always something new coming out of Africa)
Pliny
zhelu1985@live.com
Cute, but Pliny was referring to the Roman province of "Africa" which was really just the area of Carthage in what is present day Tunisia.
And by "new" he was referring to political instability.
53ae0c69-5e94-4706-924a-743c0a320969
@wallace.benn, The Ebola virus has not always been restricted to sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, these filoviruses were first recognized in 1967, when the inadvertent importation of infected monkeys from Uganda into Germany resulted in explosive outbreaks of severe illness among vaccine plant workers who came into contact with the animals.
It is true that most subsequent outbreaks have occurred in sub-Saharan Africa but this is NOT due to the special climatic conditions and environmental factors which allow it to flourish as you put it. A virus a is a complex of protein particles and nucleic acid and per se, it does not have an ability to replicate. In the environment, most viruses die within days. It can however replicate and survive inside a living cell and the natural host of the Ebola virus is believed to be a fruit bat in Africa which explains why most outbreaks have taken place in these regions.
Previous outbreaks have been confined to these regions because the affected population were generally poor villagers who do not travel by air but Patrick Sawyer, the first American to die in the current outbreak, who traveled from Liberia to Lagos, is a living example that the disease can potentially be spread outside Africa.
Unlike bacterial infections, there are no specific therapies for the great majority of viral infections and Ebola is no exception. The only effective treatment for any outbreak is containment. It will not just go away.
wallace.benn
you got me wrong, I did not mean to say restricted, I just meant the virus has a higher rate there. Im an environmentalist by profession and I understand quite clearly what a virus is. I did not mean to say the virus is completely confined to the areas I mentioned, but is present at a far much higher rate than anywhere else, so kindly excuse my french. To correct you on what you just wrote, read my post, I did not mention sub saharan africa, I am an AFRICAN my self, and as you mentioned, a virus needs to find a comfortable scenario or even better a specific host for it to jump from one species to another, and we all know that the Ebola virus has its origins from primates and fruit bats, which are the most common hosts. Take into consideration the natural habitat of these hosts plus the ecosystem, then the virus will thrive under certain circumstances. There have been cases outside this region, but most of them have been isolated. To cut the story short look at the privalence of malaria and yellow fever in some areas, diseases are also related geographically
wallace.benn
The Ebola virus is one that has always been restricted to the upper ends of the congo basin and certain parts of west africa, as we have seen time and again throughout history. Why is this so? its simple, the climatic conditions and certain environmental factors lend it time to flourish, but it does not last long, just like the boom and bust versions of SARS and Swine flu. WHy write about a person flying in from kenya and say she was suspected to have the virus when she actually tested negative. Have you ever heard of any significant outbreak of this virus in the rest of the african continent? By the way SARS had no impact on africa during the so called world outbreak. get your facts straight, education and exposure are very important tools that can kill ignorance

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