Hong Kong will step up local surveillance systems at boundary control points and the public health laboratory in light of outbreaks of human infection of Swine Influenza A/H1N1 in Mexico and the United States, the Center for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health of Hong Kong announced on Saturday.
Travelers from the affected places who are found to have Swine Influenza symptoms at Hong Kong's boundary control points will be taken to hospitals for further investigation. Laboratory testing for Swine Influenza will be conducted for patients with influenza-like-illness who had traveled to the affected places within 7 days before onset of symptoms.
"The CHP is working closely with the Hospital Authority to implement precautionary measures against Swine Influenza," said Thomas Tsang, the Controller of CHP.
"People who develop respiratory illness within 7 days after returning from the affected places should put on a surgical mask and seek medical consultation from public clinics and hospitals immediately. This will facilitate prompt investigations by the health authority," Tsang said.
Tsang also reminded travelers to consider the latest developments in Swine Influenza in planning travel to the affected places.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Swine Influenza A/H1N1 viruses characterized in this outbreak had not been previously detected in pigs or humans, he said.
"The viruses so far characterized have been sensitive to oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza), which constitute the antiviral stockpile in Hong Kong."
Tsang also stressed that the CHP would continue to monitor the situation and inform the public accordingly.
(Xinhua News Agency April 26, 2009)