Public Should Be Vigilant Against Cholera

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Cholera

Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today confirmed a cholera case and reminded people to observe good personal, food and environmental hygiene whether in Hong Kong or travelling abroad to prevent the disease.

The case involved a 43-year-old woman who developed watery diarrhea on October 29. She was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital on November 12 for treatment and is now in stable condition in the hospital.

Laboratory tests today showed that her stool specimen yielded positive result for Vibrio cholerae O1 El Tor Ogawa.

CHP's investigation revealed that she had travelled with 13 other persons in a tour group to India from October 19 to 26. CHP is contacting the other tour members.

The patient lives in Eastern District and her family member did not have symptom of cholera.

A total of three cholera cases, including two imported ones, were reported so far this year. There were one case in 2006, five in 2005, five in 2004, seven in 2003 and four in 2002.

A spokesman for DH reminded members of the public travelling abroad to be vigilant and take precautionary measures against cholera in view of recent outbreaks in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam.

DH has alerted the local travel industry about the cholera case and the outbreak in Vietnam.

"No matter in Hong Kong or travelling abroad, members of the public should pay attention to personal hygiene and take measures to prevent cholera and food-borne infection," he added

They are urged to:

* Wash and cook seafood thoroughly before eating, particularly crustaceans and bivalves such as shrimp, crab, oysters and clams;

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* Wash hands before eating and after going to the toilet;

* Handle raw and cooked food with separate utensils to prevent cross-contamination;

* Keep raw and cooked food separately;

* Store food in refrigerator (at 4 degrees Celsius or below) and thoroughly reheat leftover food before eating;

* Keep the environment clean.

When travelling outside Hong Kong, they should:

* Always wash hands before eating and after going to the toilet;

* Eat only thoroughly cooked food and food from sealed packs or cans;

* Avoid cold dishes such as salad and ice-cream;

* Drink only boiled water, canned or bottled drinks, pasteurised milk or dairy products;

* Do not add ice to drinks and do not drink fresh fruit juice that has been prepared beforehand;

* Do not patronise illegal food hawkers; and

* Wash fruit thoroughly before eating and do not eat fruit that has already been peeled or cut open.

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