The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (July 9) reported that the suspected case of Japanese encephalitis (JE) affecting a man aged 55 under investigation yesterday (July 8) has been laboratory confirmed.
Both the patient’s cerebrospinal fluid and blood sample tested positive for immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies to JE virus upon further testing by the CHP’s Public Health Laboratory Services Branch.
“We commenced epidemiological investigations yesterday as a precautionary measure. Apart from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), we have informed the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the Home Affairs Department for corresponding follow-up. Investigations and health education are under way in the vicinity of where the patient frequented,” a spokesman for the CHP said.
Further enquiries revealed that, according to the FEHD, there are water streams and water bodies in the vicinity of the patient’s residence in Sheung Ma Tseuk Leng, Sha Tau Kok, New Territories. In addition, his workplace was at Connaught Road West, Western District, Hong Kong.
Officers of the CHP will conduct, weather and conditions permitting, site visits and field investigations by questionnaire surveys at the patient’s residence for active case finding and arranging blood tests. A health talk will be held with the FEHD to deliver health advice to residents and the public.
Persons who have been to the vicinity of Sheung Ma Tseuk Leng or Connaught Road West with JE symptoms should call the CHP’s hotline (2125 1133) for laboratory investigation or referral to hospital as appropriate. It will operate until the Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal Number 8 is issued.
“We will issue letters to doctors and hospitals to alert them to the case,” the spokesman added.
This is the second local JE case reported to the CHP this year. Five cases (three local, two imported) were filed in 2014 while six cases (two local, three imported and one unclassified) were filed in 2013.