CHP investigates another imported Zika virus case involving 19-year-old male patient returning from Thailand

145

13th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is currently investigating a case of Zika Virus Infection that is linked to a previously announced imported case. The CHP is once again urging the public to take strict measures to prevent mosquito bites when travelling, particularly pregnant women who should be vigilant about the risk of infection in affected areas.

The case involves a 19-year-old male patient with no significant medical history. He developed a fever on 3rd April and subsequently experienced a generalised skin rash the following day. On 8th April, he sought medical attention at the Accident and Emergency Department of the United Christian Hospital (UCH) and was admitted for management on the same day. He was discharged the next day. The patient, who was in close contact with the previously announced imported case, had also stayed on Ko Lanta Island in Thailand from 28th March to 3rd April before returning to Hong Kong on 6th April. He recalled being bitten by mosquitoes during his stay on Ko Lanta Island. Yesterday, the CHP arranged for the patient to be readmitted to UCH for further management. His blood specimen tested positive for the Zika virus. He has remained in stable condition throughout his illness, and so far, his household contacts have shown no symptoms. The CHP is currently conducting contact tracing and follow-up investigations, and has notified the health authority in Thailand about the case.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), multiple countries and areas in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia, including Thailand, have reported current or previous cases of Zika virus transmission. In response to the situation, the CHP has informed the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to enhance vector surveillance and control measures. Zika Virus Infection is a notifiable infectious disease in Hong Kong, and suspected or confirmed cases must be promptly reported for investigation, control, and surveillance.

A spokesperson for the CHP emphasised that Zika Virus Infection is transmitted through mosquitoes. To reduce the risk of mosquito-borne infections, travellers returning from affected areas should apply insect repellent for at least 21 days upon arrival in Hong Kong. If they experience any symptoms, they should seek medical advice promptly and provide details of their travel history to the doctor.

The CHP’s Port Health Division has been conducting inspections and health promotions at boundary control points (BCPs) to ensure strict environmental hygiene and effective mosquito control. They have also been maintaining close communication with relevant stakeholders, such as airlines and the travel industry, to provide up-to-date disease information and health advice. Ongoing routine health surveillance, including temperature monitoring of inbound travellers at all BCPs, is being carried out.