Patient with respiratory symptoms and travel history under CHP investigation
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) received notification from Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) today (February 1) of a suspected case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome affecting a 2-year-old boy.
The patient, with underlying illnesses, presented with fever, cough, runny nose, diarrhoea and vomiting since January 30. He was admitted to QEH today for further management under isolation.
Initial investigations by the CHP revealed that the patient had travelled to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) with his three family members from January 6 to 27. He had no contact with animals nor patients in KSA. He is currently in a stable condition. His travel collaterals have remained asymptomatic so far.
The patient's respiratory specimens will be taken for preliminary laboratory tests by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the CHP.
Locally, the CHP will continue its surveillance mechanism with public and private hospitals, practising doctors and the airport for any suspected case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.
"No human infection with this virus has been identified so far in Hong Kong," the spokesman remarked.
"We would like to reassure the public that the Government will be as transparent as possible in the dissemination of information on cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. Whenever there is a suspected case, particularly involving patients with travel history to the Middle East, the CHP will release information to the public as soon as possible," the spokesman stressed.
Early identification of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus is important, but not all the cases could be reliably and timely detected, especially when disease is mild or presents atypically. Therefore, healthcare workers (HCWs) and hospitals are reminded to maintain vigilance against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and adhere to strict infection control measures while handling suspected cases in order to reduce the risk of transmission to other patients, HCWs and visitors.
Regular education and training for infection control should also be provided to all HCWs.
Recent travellers returning from the Middle East who develop severe acute respiratory infections should be tested for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus. Patients' lower respiratory tract specimens should also be obtained for diagnosis when possible.
Travellers should avoid contact with animals, poultry or sick people during travel and seek medical consultation immediately if feeling unwell. They should also wash hands regularly before and after touching animals when visiting a farm or a barn.
As a general precautionary measure, they should also adhere to food safety and environmental hygiene practices such as avoiding undercooked meats, raw fruits and vegetables, unless they have been peeled, and unsafe water.
Those returning from the Middle East with respiratory symptoms are advised to wear face masks, seek medical attention and reveal their travel history to doctors.
Relevant travel health advice can be found on the website of the DH's Travel Health Service (www.travelhealth.gov.hk/english/popup/popup.html ).
Members of the public are also reminded to take heed of personal hygiene:
- Wash hands before touching the eyes, nose and mouth;
- Wash hands before eating or handling food;
- Wash hands after using the toilet;
- Wash hands after sneezing or coughing and cleaning the nose; and
- Avoid direct contact with animals, birds or poultry.
Ends/Saturday, February 1, 2014
Issued at HKT 21:29