Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) reported today it is investigating an imported case of monkeypox.
This has prompted the government to activate the Alert level of the Preparedness and Response Plan for Monkeypox.
The case involves a male patient aged 30 who arrived in Hong Kong alone from the Philippines via flight PR300 on September 5 and proceeded to undergo quarantine at a designated quarantine hotel (Ramada Hong Kong Harbour View). He developed symptoms including a severe sore throat and difficulty in swallowing in the late evening of the same day. He also developed a skin rash as well as lymphadenopathy in the past week. He has been sent to Queen Mary Hospital, and has not entered the local community. The patient is isolated in a single Airborne Infection Isolation Room. He is now in stable condition. His samples were collected and tested by the CHP’s Public Health Laboratory Services Branch, and the result tested positive today.
The CHP’s epidemiological investigations of the case are ongoing. An initial investigation revealed that he had also travelled to the United States and Canada between August 2 and September 2, and he had high risk exposure during the incubation period. According to the patient, he had not contacted any confirmed patients during his overseas stay and has no close contact in the local community. As a precautionary measure, crew members and passengers of flight PR300 are advised to watch out for symptoms and seek medical attention if necessary, despite their relatively low risk.
Subsequent to the confirmation of the case, the Government today activated the Alert level of the Preparedness and Response Plan for Monkeypox, reflecting a low immediate health impact caused by monkeypox on the local population. Generally, it depicts a situation when there is an imported human case and/or epidemiologically linked cases or an imported animal case.
Under the Alert response level, the Government will take a series of follow-up actions, including enhancing its control and prevention measures in the community by putting potentially exposed persons under medical surveillance or quarantine as appropriate. It will also strengthen health surveillance measures at boundary control points and enhance related health education to the public through various means.
The CHP has reported the case to the World Health Organization and the relevant authority of the Mainland. Letters will also be sent to doctors and private hospitals reminding them to pay attention to symptomatic patients seeking consultations without contact history. The CHP also urges the public, especially those subject to high risks of exposure, to take precautions and avoid close physical contact with persons or animals suspected of monkeypox infection. They should seek medical attention as soon as possible if they experience symptoms of monkeypox, including rash, fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle pain, and severe headaches.
To reduce the risk of infection, members of the public who need to travel to places affected by monkeypox should:
- Avoid physical contact with sick persons or animals;
- Wear protective clothing and equipment including gloves and surgical masks when taking care of sick persons or handling animals, and wash hands after these procedures;
- Thoroughly cook all animal products before eating; and
- Seek medical advice promptly in case of any suspicious symptoms.
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