Dengue fever outbreak over for Hong Kong but stay vigilant against mosquito-borne diseases, health officials say
Record high number of local cases originated from two clusters between mid-August and early September, but no new reports since
Hong Kong’s dengue fever outbreak has officially come to an end, but staying vigilant against mosquito-borne diseases is vital, the city’s health officials told local doctors on Wednesday.
A sudden surge of infection swept the city this year. From August 14 to September 4, the Centre for Health Protection confirmed 29 local cases of dengue fever – the highest total since records began in 1994.
Epidemiological investigations revealed that all the cases were linked to two separate clusters.
One cluster involved 19 people who had gone to Lion Rock Park in Wong Tai Sin, while the remaining cases had been to the outlying island Cheung Chau.
No new local cases were reported after September 4.
Dengue fever – transmitted when the Aedes mosquito bites an infected person and then bites someone else – is not new to Hong Kong. But most patients infected in recent years were bitten outside the city, with only a handful contracting the virus locally.
The high number of locally contracted cases sparked a fever scare in the city in August, when the government closed Lion Rock Park for 30 days to stamp out mosquito breeding, including by spraying insecticide.
Similar measures were conducted on Cheung Chau, home to more than 20,000 people. The government paid special attention to areas near schools as well as places patients had visited.
Members of various public bodies went to the island to teach its residents tips on preventing mosquito breeding.
The centre noted all the patients had recovered and that no severe cases had been reported.
It announced that the online platform “e-Dengue”, which was put in place for medical personnel to submit case details, would be deactivated. All doctors were asked to resume the standard reporting mechanism.
The centre also suggested people who had visited countries where dengue fever is endemic use mosquito repellent for two to three weeks after returning to Hong Kong. This would help prevent the virus’ spread.