More than 20 police officers in Kowloon West hit by hand, foot and mouth disease
Immediate disinfection of Sham Shui Po police station conducted after report of suspected outbreak
More than 20 police officers from the same region have been struck by an infectious disease common in children over the past few days, local health authorities confirmed.
Since the start of the month, 27 officers in the Kowloon West region, which covers Yau Tsim, Mong Kok, Sham Shui Po and Kowloon City police districts, were confirmed to have been infected with hand, foot and mouth disease, a police spokesman said on Thursday morning.
The cases were reported to the Centre for Health Protection.
The centre said it was also notified by Sham Shui Po police station on Wednesday about a suspected outbreak of the disease. An investigation was under way.
Details on the conditions of the affected officers were not available.
Local media reported that 15 officers from Sham Shui Po police station were included in the overall numbers. An immediate disinfection of the premises was conducted.
The spokesman said there was a set of guidelines and protective measures for officers to tackle infectious diseases.
The force had also been in close communication with the centre for advice on the disease.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common infection in children caused by enteroviruses such as coxsackieviruses and enterovirus 71 (EV71).
It spreads mainly by contact with nose or throat discharges, saliva, fluid from vesicles or patients’ stool, or after touching contaminated objects.
It most commonly affects children under 10. Older children and adults are sometimes affected, but tend to develop a milder form of the illness compared to younger children
The usual peak season for the disease in the city is from May to July; a smaller peak may also occur in winter. About 4,200 people were infected last year.
The disease is most contagious during its first week, though the viruses can be found in stool for weeks.