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Hong Kong, No human infection with novel coronavirus identified so far in Hong Kong (February 20 2013)

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  • Hong Kong, No human infection with novel coronavirus identified so far in Hong Kong (February 20 2013)

    [Source: Centre for Health Protection, Hong Kong PRC SAR, full text: (LINK).]
    No human infection with novel coronavirus identified so far in Hong Kong

    In response to media enquiries on a rumour concerning human infection with novel coronavirus in Hong Kong, a spokesperson for the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (February 20) clarified that no human infection with this virus has been identified so far in Hong Kong.

    "According to the World Health Organization (WHO), of the total 12 confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus globally, three recently confirmed cases have been diagnosed in the UK," the spokesperson said.

    According to the latest information from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the Health Protection Agency (HPA) of the UK, a male UK resident (Case 10) with confirmed novel coronavirus infection who had travelled to Pakistan and the Middle East, developed respiratory symptoms on January 24 and then had arrived unwell in the UK on January 28. While staying with his family at home, his condition deteriorated and he was admitted to hospital under intensive care.

    On February 6, a male household member (Case 11) who had contact with Case 10 from his arrival until hospital admission felt unwell. This patient had an existing medical condition that might have made him more susceptible to a severe respiratory infection. His respiratory condition deteriorated and he was admitted to hospital where he was under intensive care but subsequently died.

    The latest confirmed case (Case 12) is a younger female family member, who only had exposure to Case 10 while he was in hospital. She became ill on February 5 with a typical influenza-like illness which did not require hospital admission. She has now fully recovered.

    Cases 11 and 12 were likely infected through human-to-human transmission, although the exact route of transmission is still under investigation by the UK authority. The presence of an intermediary case or fomite spread are possible.

    "According to the ECDC, close follow-up of approximately 200 health-care workers, family members and other contacts of cases in Europe and the Middle East has not yet found other demonstrated instances of human-to-human transmission. So far, no sustained transmissions or expanding clusters of infections have been identified in any country," the spokesperson remarked.

    "Members of the public are advised to maintain good personal and environmental hygiene and avoid direct contact with animals, birds or poultry," said the spokesperson, adding that the virus may remain viable in the environment for some time and can be inactivated by 1:99 household bleach.

    He also advised travellers returning from novel coronavirus-affected countries with respiratory symptoms to wear facial masks and seek medical attention and reveal their travel histories to doctors.

    "The CHP will stay vigilant and continue to work closely with the WHO and other overseas health authorities to monitor the latest developments of this novel infectious disease," he said.

    "Locally, the CHP will continue its surveillance mechanism with public and private hospitals, practising doctors and the airport for any suspected cases of Novel Coronavirus associated with Severe Respiratory Disease," he added.

    Ends/Wednesday, February 20, 2013
    Issued at HKT 19:26
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