Second case of dengue fever in Hong Kong brings warning from health officials

Second case of dengue fever in Hong Kong brings warning from health officials

After the second confirmed case of someone catching dengue fever in Hong Kong, officials warn there will be more

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Dengue is carried by mosquitos.
Dengue is carried by mosquitos.

More people are likely to catch dengue fever in Hong Kong, health authorities warned after the second case in nine days was confirmed on Sunday.

Dengue fever is a virus carried by mosquitos. It can be deadly. People who have the disease get a fever, headache, muscle and joint pains and also a skin rash. Water that is stagnant (not moving like a river) can be a big cause of the disease and this is where mosquitos breed.

The two men were the first patients to contract the mosquito-borne disease in Hong Kong in four years. Both cases are thought to have come from a building site for the Sai Ying Pun MTR station where the two worked.

The Centre for Health Protection believes the men - a 25-year-old Wong Tai Sin resident whose infection was confirmed on Sunday, and a 63-year-old Sha Tin man diagnosed on October 25 - were bitten by the Aedes albopictus mosquito at the site on the corner of Eastern Street and Queen's Road West.

"[The mosquito] usually bites two to three people at a time ... so there should be more than one or two people infected," centre controller Dr Leung Ting-hung said.

Leung said the man in the latest case, who lived on Po Kong Village Road, developed symptoms on October 27 and went to Baptist Hospital in Kowloon Tong on Sunday. His sample tested positive for dengue yesterday.

The man had not left the city during the incubation period of three to 14 days and must therefore have caught the disease locally. He was in a stable condition and his fever had declined. 

Anti-mosquito measures have been taken around the construction site since October 24.

Leung said anti-mosquito work would continue throughout the city despite the approach of winter, as the mosquitoes would not fully stop their activities until the temperature dropped to nine degrees Celsius. 

The latest case was the 97th detected this year, 95 of them picked up abroad. Last year, 103 imported cases were reported.

Food and Health Secretary Dr Ko Wing-man said the government would not slow its fight against dengue fever as there are cases in neighbouring Guangdong province. 

As of yesterday morning, 43,010 cases had been reported in the province, local media said. Six people have died so far in Guangdong.

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