Two more people diagnosed with dengue fever in Hong Kong, raising total to 26 cases this year
Centre for Health Protection controller describes local outbreak of mosquito-borne disease as ‘very quick’ and ‘unprecedented’
Two more people were diagnosed with dengue fever on Saturday, bringing the total number of people in Hong Kong who have contracted the mosquito-borne virus locally to 26 this year, the health authorities said.
The latest updates meant nine of the local cases either live on or had visited the island of Cheung Chau, while the remaining 17 had gone to the popular Lion Rock Park or Wong Tai Sin, the district where the park is located, since the first case was reported on August 14.
Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said on Sunday hygiene officials would go to Cheung Chau starting Monday to spray insecticide around all homes and schools, before the new academic year begins on September 3.
Workers had already been doing this within 500 metres of each Cheung Chau patient’s home.
“We will expand work to cover the whole island,” Cheung said. The island has over 24,000 residents according to the most recent census, and is popular with weekend day trippers who want to go hiking or eat seafood.
A 39-year-old woman who lives on Sai Wan Road on the island is one of the newly confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne disease. She works as a cleaner at Salesian Retreat House on Cheung Chau, and recalled being bitten by mosquitoes at her workplace and home.
She started to develop symptoms such as a fever and headache on August 17 and first sought medical care on August 21. As of Saturday, she was still being hospitalised at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan and was in stable condition.
The woman’s two-year-old son had a fever and cough but has recovered. Others at home, including her husband and a daughter, did not present any symptoms.
Another identified sufferer was a 40-year-old Hong Kong man who lives at Charming Garden in Mong Kok. During the incubation period – the moment of exposure to the virus to the time symptoms appear – he visited Cheung Chau and Shenzhen, a neighbouring mainland city. The man works as a part-time construction worker in Tiu Keng Leng and went to Queen Mary Hospital for medical care on Friday. He was also in stable condition.
Centre for Health Protection controller Dr Wong Ka-hing on Saturday described the current local outbreak of dengue fever as “very quick” and “unprecedented”.
“The development [of the disease] on Cheung Chau is more worrying and not easy to predict,” Wong said. “We expect there will be new cases in the near future.”
Undersecretary for Food and Health Dr Chui Tak-yi said hygiene officers would visit parts of the island less frequented by people to carry out mosquito control measures.
In Hong Kong, dengue fever is transmitted to humans by Aedes albopictus, a type of mosquito commonly found locally. The mosquito becomes a carrier of the virus after biting an infected person and then spreads the disease by biting someone else.
Most dengue fever cases in the city in previous years were imported – patients were bitten elsewhere and displayed signs of the illness upon returning.
This year’s local cases are at a record high.