Hong Kong is bracing for a potential outbreak of dengue fever following recent cases in neighbouring Macau and southern China. Of 45 people who have come down with dengue fever this year after going overseas, four had spent time in Macau. The latest case involved a 45-year-old Tsing Yi man who was in Macau from August 20 to September 17. Macau has reported nine local cases, none of them fatal, this year. The latest two victims were a forest guard on Coloane island and a Hong Kong resident who works at a Macau casino. In Hong Kong's first local outbreak of dengue in 2002, 20 people were infected, including 17 linked to an outbreak near a Ma Wan construction site. A further 22 people were infected while holidaying overseas. The Hong Kong outbreak came a year after the first outbreak of dengue fever in Macau, where nearly 1,200 people were afflicted, although no one died. There was also an outbreak in Guangdong in 2001. 'Once dengue fever becomes endemic, it is difficult to eradicate,' said the controller of the Centre for Health Protection, Thomas Tsang Ho-fai. The centre has advised those going overseas to wear long-sleeved tops and trousers; use insect repellent on the exposed parts of the body; and use mosquito screens or nets when rooms are not air-conditioned.