Two additional local cases of dengue fever were confirmed by the Centre of Health Protection (CHP) on Tuesday evening. It brings the total number of confirmed cases to 18 since last Tuesday.

The centre has urged the public to use protective measures to control mosquitoes, which transmit the tropical disease.

mosquito sucking blood zika
File photo: Wikicommons.

The first additional case involves a 59-year-old male patient on Cheung Chau island, who developed a fever last Friday according to the CHP. A team of government officials launched an anti-mosquito operation on the outlying island on Monday, after two cases of dengue were reported there.

The second patient is a 43-year-old female who developed a fever and rash last Tuesday. She had previously been to Lion Rock Park, where several of those infected are known to have visited. The CHP said that the genetic sequence of her virus was highly similar to the majority of earlier Lion Rock Park cases. The park was closed on Friday in an effort to curb the spread of infection.

Both patients recall suffering mosquito bites recently.

The geographical distribution on the local dengue fever cases in Hong Kong. Photo: GovHK.

A spokesperson for the CHP said: “We are working closely with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) to assess and prevent the possible spread of infection. The FEHD’s vector investigations, surveillance and control are ongoing. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing.”

“The CHP appeals to members of the public not to visit Lion Rock Park during the closure period in order to prevent contracting [dengue fever]. People who had visited Lion Rock Park are advised to apply insect repellent for 14 days upon their last visit, and those with [dengue fever] symptoms should seek medical advice as early as possible.”

The centre apologised on Tuesday for incorrectly identifying the source of infection in two local dengue fever cases on Cheung Chau. An incorrect test result stated that the two cases were from different sources, yet the infections actually originated from the same source.

The number of reported cases of dengue fever in Hong Kong this year since July 24. Photo: GovHK.

According to the CHP, dengue is characterised by a high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph nodes and rash. Early symptoms are often mild but severe infections can be fatal and cause haemorrhaging.

Those with symptoms who have visited the Wong Tai Sin vicinity – particularly Lion Rock Park –  Kwai Shing West Estate, Clear Water Bay Second Beach, Cheung Chau, Highland Park, Sai Tso Wan Recreation Ground, Wing Yiu Street, Tak Long Estate, Portland Street, Shanghai Street and Greenfield Garden, are urged to call the CHP hotline at 2125 1122. The line operates from 9am to 5.45pm daily.

jennifer creery

Jennifer Creery

Jennifer Creery is a Hong Kong-born British journalist, interested in minority rights and urban planning. She holds a BA in English at King's College London and has studied Mandarin at National Taiwan University.