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Saturday, August 27, 2016, 00:22

Woman tests negative for Zika, leaves hospital

By Li Xiange
Woman tests negative for Zika, leaves hospital

Workers from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department spray insecticide to kill mosquitoes outside LOHAS Park, Tseung Kwan O on Friday. A woman who lived there, reported to have been infected with the Zika virus, tested negative for the virus on Friday. (Roy Liu / China Daily)

HONG KONG - A woman, originally feared to have the Zika virus, was discharged from hospital on Friday, after testing negative for it, the city’s health authority revealed after an inter-departmental meeting.

Meanwhile, all of her family members and travel companions also tested negative.

A spokesperson of the government told China Daily that the woman had indeed tested positive on Thursday and had recovered during her stay at the United Christian Hospital in Kwun Tong.

However, the alert was not cleared. Tests for evidence of the Zika virus will be carried out on athletes and visitors returning from the Rio Olympics, Commissioner for Sports Yeung Tak-keung told local media on Friday.

Health protection advice will be provided to the mainland Olympic delegation that will visit Hong Kong over the weekend, including preventive measures to avoid mosquito bites and what-to-dos after infection, the Department of Health said.

Returning athletes have been asked to make appointments on their own to have their blood tested at Queen Mary Hospital.

Jasper Chan Fuk-woo, clinical assistant professor in microbiology at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), said if there have been more infections, it is critical they be confirmed over the next few days. This is to determine whether there is a high risk of widespread outbreak.

The tests will be processed by the research staff at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). Chan said arrangements to take blood tests for athletes at the Hong Kong Sports Institute or elsewhere will be decided soon.

Local anxieties over the virus have risen, after the first case of Zika infection was reported in a foreign national, returning from the Caribbean.

It is also important to know whether the infected female has been stung by mosquitoes after she returned in Hong Kong, added Chan.

The 38-year-old woman was put into quarantine at the United Christian Hospital. The authorities carried out on Friday mosquito spraying near her residence in LOHAS Park in Tseung Kwan O, and her work place in Central.

The authorities will also continue body temperature tests at all checkpoints.

Zika infections may be limited to Zika fever – a relatively mild infection that could go undetected, but is capable of being passed to the fetus of a pregnant woman.

That would pose the risk of infection to the fetus, leading to the possibility of microcephaly or severe brain malformations.

Resty Noveno, 41, a pastor living in LOHAS Park, Tseung Kwan O, for six years, said his family felt anxious about the threat of Zika infections. He said his family has taken preventive measures such as wearing long-sleeve shirts and using mosquito sprays.

Kwan Ng Shiu-fan, 65, who lives in the same neighborhood, said she is not worried and is confident the government can control the problem.

A notice reminding the residents not to panic was posted on every residence in LOHAS Park. Property management has also taken preventive measures at the residences.

Mosquito-killing oils were sprayed on streets and construction sites in the area. There are several construction sites in the immediate vicinity covering 33-hectare area. The likelihood there are pools of standing water could mean that there are many mosquitoes in the area.

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