Investigation and control of a measles outbreak at the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region International Airport, 2019

Authors

  • Chi Hong Wong Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR (China); Field Epidemiology Training Programme, Hong Kong SAR (China)
  • Shuk Kwan Chuang Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR (China)
  • Wing Hang Lam Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR (China); Field Epidemiology Training Programme, Hong Kong SAR (China)
  • Ho Yeung Lam Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR (China)
  • Tsz Sum Lam Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR (China)
  • Lei Ming Raymond Ho Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR (China)
  • Yiu Hong Leung Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR (China)
  • Chau Kuen Yonnie Lam Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR (China)

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5365/wpsar.2019.10.2.007

Abstract

Introduction: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region SAR (China) achieved measles elimination status in 2016, and the incidence of measles infection had been low over the past few years. However, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) at the Department of Health was notified on 22 March 2019 of an outbreak of three cases of measles infection among workers at the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region International Airport (HKIA).

Methods: We reviewed notifications of measles received by CHP from 1 January to 17 May 2019. We defined a confirmed case of measles as having laboratory evidence of measles infection. All confirmed cases among airport workers or those with epidemiological information suggesting they had been infected by contact with airport workers were included in the review. We described the epidemiological features and reviewed the control measures against the outbreak.

Results: We identified 33 cases, 29 of which were among airport workers. They comprised 22 men and 11 women, aged 20–49 years (median 25 years). The majority of people with confirmed measles presented with fever and rash. All required hospitalization. None developed complications. Control measures, including enhanced environmental hygiene and improved ventilation at HKIA and vaccinations for the airport community, were implemented. Vaccinations were provided to 8501 eligible airport workers, and the outbreak was declared over on 17 May 2019.

Discussion: Early recognition of the outbreak and prompt control measures, especially targeted vaccination of the exposed population, effectively controlled the outbreak in just two weeks.

Author Biographies

Chi Hong Wong, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR (China); Field Epidemiology Training Programme, Hong Kong SAR (China)

Senior Medical Officer, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, HKSAR Government

Shuk Kwan Chuang, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR (China)

Head of Surveillance & Epidemiology Branch/ Consultant Community Medicine(Communicable Disease), Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, HKSAR Government

Wing Hang Lam, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR (China); Field Epidemiology Training Programme, Hong Kong SAR (China)

Senior Medical Officer, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, HKSAR Government

Ho Yeung Lam, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR (China)

Senior Medical Officer, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, HKSAR Government

Tsz Sum Lam, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR (China)

Senior Medical Officer, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, HKSAR Government

Lei Ming Raymond Ho, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR (China)

Chief Port Health Officer, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, HKSAR Government

Yiu Hong Leung, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR (China)

Senior Port Health Officer, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, HKSAR Government

Chau Kuen Yonnie Lam, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR (China)

Principal Medical Officer, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, HKSAR Government

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Published

29-06-2020

Issue

Section

Outbreak Investigation Report