4th February 2023 – (Hong kong) The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) said today that it is investigating an imported case of Mpox (also known as Monkeypox).
The case involves a 40-year-old male patient with good past health who had visited Japan during 14th to 24th January. He developed oral ulcers on 31st January, and developed low grade fever, headache, lymphadenopathy, as well as rash over his hands, trunk and genitalia since 1st February. He consulted a general practitioner on that day. He later attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Yan Chai Hospital on 3rd February 3and was subsequently transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital. The patient is isolated in a single isolation room and is now in stable condition. The CHP’s Public Health Laboratory Services Branch today confirmed that his samples tested positive for the virus.
An initial investigation revealed that he had high risk exposure during the incubation period amid his stay in Japan. According to the patient, he had not acquainted any Mpox confirmed patients during his overseas stay and had no high risk exposure after returning to Hong Kong. As a precautionary measure, the CHP has arranged two household members of the patient to undergo quarantine and receive post-exposure vaccination. No close contacts have been identified after his onset of symptoms. The CHP’s epidemiological investigations of the case are ongoing.
The CHP will report the case to the World Health Organization, health authority of Japan 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 infection. They should seek medical attention as soon as possible if they experience relevant symptoms, including rash, fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle pain, and severe headaches.
The CHP reminded members of the public that Mpox is not transmitted through transient contact with respiratory droplets like COVID-19 and transmission would not occur through general social contact. Proper personal and hand hygiene can help prevent getting infected via contact.
Subsequent to an imported case in September last year, the Government has activated the Alert level of the preparedness and response plan for the disease, reflecting a low immediate health impact on the local population. The Government will continue to assess the risk in view of the latest scientific evidence and situation, and implement corresponding control measures.
The Mpox vaccination programme for high-risk groups commenced on 5th October last year. Under the programme, the following high-risk target groups can receive Mpox vaccination on a voluntary basis:
- Individuals with high risk sexual practices, e.g. having multiple sexual partners, sex workers, having a history of sexually transmitted infection within the past 12 months;
- Healthcare workers responsible for caring of patients with confirmed Mpox;
- Laboratory personnel working with zoonotic pox viruses; and
- Animal care personnel with high risk of exposure in case of Mpox occurrence in animals in Hong Kong.