The Centre for Health Protection evidently has no new H7N9 cases today, but it offers a very good overview of another illness: CHP closely monitoring measles activity. Excerpt:
A spokesman for the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health said today (March 12) that the CHP had been closely monitoring measles activity in view of a recent increase of measles cases both in Hong Kong and in neighbouring areas.
In Hong Kong, the CHP's surveillance data showed that there had been an increase in measles infections since September 2013, and the rise was continuing this year. In 2013, a total of 38 cases of measles infection were reported, the highest annual number since 2009.
As of March 11 this year, the CHP recorded 16 cases of measles infection affecting five males and 11 females aged from 5 months to 40 years. Among the cases, nine were imported from the Mainland (four cases), the Philippines (three cases), India (one case) and the United States (one case).
Recently, an increase in measles cases has been observed in neighbouring areas such as the Mainland, Singapore, Japan and the Philippines. According to relevant health authorities, a total of 27 646 cases were recorded in 2013 in the Mainland, and the figures remained high with 6 161 cases recorded in the first two months of this year.
Singapore recorded 67 cases in the first 10 weeks of this year, as compared with one case in the same period last year. In Japan, 119 cases were reported in the first eight weeks of this year, triple the figure of the corresponding period last year. In the Philippines, 1 163 cases were reported from January 1 to January 11, 2014.
The spokesman explained that measles infection is a highly infectious disease caused by the measles virus. It can be transmitted by airborne droplet spread or direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected persons, and, less commonly, by articles soiled with nose and throat secretions. A patient can pass the disease to other persons from four days before to four days after the appearance of skin rash.