Man from Africa passed away during quarantine, post-mortem results revealed he carried the malaria parasite

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The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (August 4) investigating a fatal imported malaria case.

30 imported malaria cases were recorded by CHP from July 1 to August 4. All are male patients aged 25 to 57 arriving in Hong Kong from July 1 to August 1, among which 21 of them arrived from Guinea, Africa.

All patients underwent quarantine at designated quarantine hotels in accordance with relevant entry requirements upon arrival and a 52-year-old malaria patient passed away during quarantine and post-mortem results revealed that he carried the malaria parasite.

The remaining 29 have been sent to public hospitals for treatment and 10 of them have been discharged after treatment, while four and 15 of them are in serious and stable condition respectively (including four in the Intensive Care Unit).

The CHP is conducting an epidemiological investigation and is following up on the travel collaterals of the cases that have been put under medical surveillance. Symptomatic patients will be sent to hospital while blood tests would be offered to those who are asymptomatic. Cases that test positive would be sent to the hospital for treatment.

“The public should remain vigilant as malaria is more common in some African and Southeast Asian regions. Travelers to malaria-endemic areas should use DEET-containing insect repellents both during travel and for 14 days after arriving back in Hong Kong,” a spokesman for the CHP said.
What is MALARIA disease:

Malaria is a communicable disease transmitted by an infected female Anopheline mosquito (malaria vector). When the mosquito bites a malaria patient, the mosquito becomes infected with Plasmodium and will pass on the Plasmodium when it bites another person. The Anopheline mosquito in Hong Kong includes Anopheles minimus and Anopheles jeyporiensis. According to the malaria vector surveillance information of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the two types of Anopheline mosquitos have not been found in urban areas in Hong Kong in recent years. Apart from the breeding of Anopheles jeyporiensis near Tai Lam Chung Reservoir in 2021, there have not been any spots with Anopheles minimus or Anopheles jeyporiensis breeding in the past 10 years. As such, the DH opined that the risk of local transmission of malaria is extremely low. Since imported malaria cases were found at quarantine hotels, the authority would follow up on the mosquito infestation of relevant locations and step up anti-mosquito work on a needs basis. The last local malaria infection happened in 1998, and there were seven and four cases reported in Hong Kong in 2020 and 2021 respectively.