CHP reports two new imported cases of dengue fever in Hong Kong

The Centre for Health Protection of the Hong Kong Department of Health announced on Wednesday that it is investigating two imported cases of dengue fever and urged the public to take precautions while traveling.

The cases are linked and involve a 29-year-old woman and a 31-year-old woman who recently traveled to Sri Lanka between January 27 and February 3 and fell ill in early February. Both patients tested positive for dengue NS1 antigen through laboratory testing at the CHP's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch. Both patients are in stable condition.

The CHP reported 103 cases of dengue fever in 2013; there have been five cases reported this year to date. All reported cases were imported.

The dengue virus is mosquito-borne and endemic in many tropical or sub-tropical regions. Symptoms of dengue fever include muscle pain, high fever, debilitating headache, joint pain, rash, nausea, eye pain and in severe cases, death.

"Dengue fever is now endemic in more than 100 countries in Africa, the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific," a DH spokesman said. "Travelers are advised to protect themselves against mosquitoes all year round. The DH's Port Health Office maintains liaison with the travel industry on the latest situation of dengue fever in these countries."

The CHP asked that all travelers to countries with known dengue fever prevalence take precautions against the virus by taking measures to prevent mosquito bites, including wearing long sleeves and pants, using mosquito repellent, sleeping underneath a bed net and staying indoors where it is air-conditioned when possible.

Any persons who develop symptoms are asked to seek medical attention immediately.