Hong Kong woman who visited Sabah diagnosed with cholera

A 25-year-old Hong Kong woman was diagnosed with cholera after a four-day trip to Sabah, Malaysia between June 30 and July 3.

The woman, who was in good health before the trip, developed symptoms including diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting on the last day of her holiday. She was admitted to Union Hospital in Hong Kong on July 8 and discharged on Tuesday, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said in a statement.

On Wednesday, a stool specimen taken from the patient tested positive for cholera bacteria. She was sent to Princess Margaret Hospital, where she was treated in isolation. Attending medical staff say she remained in a stable condition throughout her treatment.

The woman’s family members have not yet presented any symptoms. Her case is classified as “imported” and the CHP’s investigations are ongoing.

This is the first cholera case in Hong Kong since 2016. According to CHP data, three cases were identified in 2016. No cases were registered in 2017.

Cholera is usually contracted through consumption of food or water contaminated with Vibrio cholerae. Human-to-human transmission rarely happens.

Most patients do not have symptoms or only have mild diarrhea while some develop severe diarrhea and vomiting. Without prompt treatment, death from severe dehydration is possible. Symptoms usually appear two to three days after infection.

The CHP advised the public to observe good personal, food and environmental hygiene both at home and during overseas trips.

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