8th December 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) has announced that a new case of melioidosis infection has been confirmed in the past week, bringing the total number of cases in Hong Kong this year to 16.
According to the CHP, the case involves a 65-year-old female with underlying illnesses who lives in Siu Sai Wan. She developed symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain, cough, runny nose, and shortness of breath on November 28 and attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Queen Mary Hospital on 6th December. She was admitted on the same day and is currently in stable condition. Her clinical sample was confirmed positive for Burkholderia pseudomallei, the bacterium that causes melioidosis.
The CHP is investigating the infection source of the case, and epidemiological investigations are ongoing. The department reminded members of the public that melioidosis can be spread by contaminated soil and water during and after typhoons and storms. As such, it is important to take precautions to minimize the risk of infection, especially for high-risk individuals such as those with diabetes or other immunocompromised conditions.
To prevent infection, the CHP recommends avoiding contact with contaminated soil, wearing appropriate protective clothing or footwear when participating in activities that may involve contact with soil or water, washing or showering after exposure to contaminated water or soil, and cleaning any wounds as soon as possible. Additionally, it is important to wash hands with liquid soap and water after handling soil or gardening, observe food hygiene, and avoid drinking raw water. Travellers should also avoid exposure to water sources that may be contaminated, such as rivers, ponds, or lakes.