2nd December 2022 – (Hong Kong) The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today said that one new confirmed melioidosis infection case had been recorded in the past week.
The case involves a 70-year-old female with diabetes living at Un Chau Street, Cheung Sha Wan. She developed dizziness and fever since 17th November. She attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Caritas Medical Centre on November 19 and was admitted on the same day. Her clinical diagnosis was a chest infection. She is still hospitalised and her current condition is stable. Her sputum specimen was confirmed positive for Burkholderia pseudomallei by the DH’s Public Health Laboratory Services Branch. One of her family members was a confirmed melioidosis case in mid-September this year. As the incubation period of melioidosis can reach several months, the possibility that they were exposed to the same polluted environment and infected earlier cannot be ruled out. An epidemiological investigation of the case is ongoing.
A total of 38 melioidosis infection cases have been recorded in Hong Kong so far this year, among which 22 cases living in Sham Shui Po were recorded since August.
The Government has earlier gazetted to include melioidosis as a statutorily notifiable infectious disease under Schedule 1 to the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance (Cap. 599). The CHP will continue to work closely with the Hospital Authority to enhance surveillance against melioidosis cases.
A spokesman for the CHP reiterated that person-to-person transmission and animal-to-human transmission are rare, but melioidosis bacteria can survive in the local environment. Melioidosis is an endemic disease in Hong Kong and melioidosis cases have been recorded in Hong Kong each year. According to literature, infection cases are more common after typhoons or storms. The bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei of melioidosis in soil and muddy water may become exposed to the ground after typhoons or storms, and the bacteria could spread more easily with strong winds or storms. As such, the number of melioidosis cases may increase.