Hong Kong health officials reported two additional locally acquired dengue fever cases over the weekend, bringing the total to 26 in past couple of weeks. All the cases have either lived on or had visited the island of Cheung Chau, or had gone to the Lion Rock Park or Wong Tai Sin.

This is the first local outbreak of dengue fever of this scale since the major local outbreak in Ma Wan in 2002.

Aedes albopictus/FotoshopTofs
Aedes albopictus/FotoshopTofs

Fever was the most common presenting symptom among patients, followed by myalgia, headache, arthralgia and rash. Other symptoms included eye pain and non-specific symptoms such as dizziness and malaise. All of them have remained in stable condition.

The South China Morning Post reports:

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. 

“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.

Dengue fever is an acute mosquito-borne infection caused by the dengue viruses. This is found in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. For instance, dengue fever is an endemic illness in many countries in South East Asia. The dengue viruses encompass 4 different serotypes, each of which can lead to dengue fever and severe dengue (also known as ‘dengue hemorrhagic fever’).

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Dengue fever is clinically characterized by high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph nodes and rash. Some infected people may not develop apparent symptoms, and some may only have mild symptoms like fever, e.g. young children may exhibit a milder non-specific febrile illness with rash.

The incubation period of dengue fever ranges from 3 – 14 days, commonly 4 – 7 days. Travellers who return from affected areas and feel unwell should seek medical advice promptly, and provide travel details to doctor.