11th December 2019 – (Hong Kong) The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is closely monitoring an imported case of Zika Virus Infection reported in Guangdong today. The CHP was notified by the Health Commission of Guangdong Province yesterday (December 10), and again urged the public to adopt strict anti-mosquito measures and safe sex during travel. Pregnant women should not travel to areas with Zika virus transmission (affected areas).
The male patient aged 33 returning from Cambodia arrived at Shenzhen International Airport on December 8. He was detected as febrile upon arrival. The case was laboratory confirmed subsequently, and he was under isolation and management in stable condition.
The CHP’s Port Health Division (PHD) has introduced a requirement on aircraft disinsection for all inbound aircrafts from Zika-affected areas since April 2017 to prevent importation of diseases through infected mosquitoes. The PHD has also stepped up inspections and health promotions at boundary control points (BCPs) to maintain strict environmental hygiene with effective mosquito control.
“Routine health surveillance on body temperature of inbound travellers at all BCPs is ongoing. However, infected persons are mainly asymptomatic. Therefore, we urge those arriving from Zika-affected areas to apply insect repellent for at least 21 days upon arrival to reduce the risk of transmission,” a spokesman for the CHP said.
“We are maintaining close liaison with the World Health Organization as well as overseas, neighbouring and Mainland health authorities to closely monitor the latest developments,” the spokesman added.
Apart from general measures on preventing mosquito bites and mosquito breeding, the public should take heed of the advice listed below:
A. Travelling abroad
- If going to affected areas, travellers, especially persons with immune disorders or severe chronic illnesses, should arrange a consultation with a doctor at least six weeks before the trip, and have extra preventive measures to avoid mosquito bites;
- During the trip, if travelling in rural affected areas, carry a portable bed net and apply permethrin (an insecticide) on it. Permethrin should not be applied to skin. Seek medical attention promptly if feeling unwell; and
- Travellers who return from affected areas should apply insect repellent for at least 21 days after arrival in Hong Kong. If feeling unwell e.g. having fever, should seek medical advice promptly and provide travel details to a doctor.
B. Sexual transmission
- Travellers should consider not having sex during travel to affected areas, or else a condom should be used; and
- Male and female travellers returning from affected areas should abstain from sex for at least three months and at least two months respectively upon return, or else a condom should be used.
C. Pregnant women
- Pregnant women should not travel to affected areas. Women preparing for pregnancy should note Point B above. If they or their male sex partners plan to travel to affected areas, they should consult their doctors for advice on the risk. Use of mosquito repellent containing DEET during travel and returning from these areas for a period of at least 21 days are advised for all travellers including pregnant women;
- Attend antenatal follow up regularly and tell the attending doctor the history of recent travel;
- Observe for symptoms of Zika Virus Infection and seek medical advice as soon as possible if feeling unwell; and
- Abstain from sex with partner who had travelled to affected areas, or else a condom should be used throughout the pregnancy.