The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) last week reported the first case of Japanese encephalitis (JE) in 2016, and again urged the public to maintain strict environmental hygiene, mosquito control and personal protective measures both locally and during travel.

Hong Kong/CIA
Hong Kong/CIA

“As the patient had both travel history and local movements during the incubation period (IP), it cannot be ruled out at this stage that the case was locally acquired. As a precautionary measure, we are working closely with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) to assess and prevent any possible spread of infection,” a spokesman for the CHP said.

The female patient, aged 22 with good past health, has developed fever, headache and neck pain since July 10. She was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital on July 13 for management and has all along been in stable condition.

Her cerebrospinal fluid tested positive for immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies against JE upon testing by the CHP’s Public Health Laboratory Services Branch.

Initial enquiries revealed that the patient had travelled to Thailand and Myanmar from June 19 to 26.

According to the patient, travel collaterals have remained asymptomatic so far.

Locally, the patient lives in a flat on Maidstone Road, To Kwa Wan, and home contacts who have remained asymptomatic are put under medical surveillance. She mainly stayed at home while in Hong Kong. She could not recall mosquito bites during the IP.

Epidemiological investigations are ongoing.