Hong Kong health authorities investigating leprosy case involving 30-year-old woman

Hong Kong health authorities are investigating a case of leprosy involving a 30-year-old woman, while emphasising the local risk of transmission remains low.

The Centre for Health Protection said on Friday that the patient with “good past health” had a skin rash on her arm since early May.

“Initial inquiries by the centre revealed that the patient stayed in the Philippines during the incubation period before arriving in Hong Kong in late April,” it said. “Her home contacts in Hong Kong are currently asymptomatic and under medical surveillance.”

The woman is in a stable condition at Tseung Kwan O Hospital. Photo: Winson Wong

She visited Tseung Kwan O Hospital on May 23 and was in a stable condition after testing positive for leprosy, it added.

A centre spokesman emphasised the transmission risk of leprosy in Hong Kong was low and the disease did not spread easily among people.

Leprosy is a “notable” chronic infectious disease caused by a bacteria, which can be transmitted by nasal droplets or close skin contact.

The disease affects the skin, nerves, upper respiratory tract and eyes. Symptoms may appear within one year or take as long as 20 years to show.

Leprosy is cured with antibiotics but can lead to loss of sensation and disability if left untreated.

“The disease does not spread easily between people through casual contact with a leprosy patient, such as shaking hands or hugging, sharing meals or sitting next to each other,” the spokesman said.

He added the disease did not spread through sex or pass to the fetus during pregnancy and patients stopped transmitting the disease once they started treatment.

The number of local cases ranged between one and nine cases every year between 2014 and 2023, with more than 80 per cent being imported, the centre said.

It added the vaccine for leprosy, given at birth in Hong Kong with almost 100 per cent coverage rate, was effective in preventing the disease and causing the decline in cases since the 1970s.



Read More

Leave a Reply