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About HKCFP > President’s Message

March 2024

Earlier in the month, there were several cases of Legionnaire Disease (LD) reported by the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health, including male and female patients aged between 62 to 92 years old living in various districts of the HKSAR. (please click) The CHP mentioned that there are ongoing epidemiological investigations to identify potential sources of infection, high-risk exposure and clusters, if any. As of 9th March, a total of 13 LD cases had been reported this year. In 2023 and 2022, there were 121 and 80 cases respectively. People aged over 50, smokers, alcoholics and persons who are immunocompromised are more susceptible to LD. Situations that may increase the risk of infection include poor maintenance of water systems; living in areas with old water systems, cooling towers or fountains; using electric water heaters, whirlpools and spas or hot water spring spas; and recent stays in hotels or vessels. Warm water (20 to 45 degrees Celsius) suits the growth of Legionellae. Aqueous environments such as water tanks, hot and cold water systems, cooling towers, whirlpools and spas, water fountains and home apparatus that support breathing can harbour the bacteria. People may become infected when breathing in contaminated aerosols and mist generated by artificial water systems, or when handling garden soil, compost and potting mixes. People who are immunocompromised should use sterile or boiled water for drinking, tooth brushing and mouth rinsing; avoid using humidifiers, or other mist- or aerosol-generating devices; and if using humidifiers, or other mist- or aerosol-generating devices, fill the water tank with only sterile or cooled freshly boiled water, and not water directly from the tap. Also, clean and maintain humidifiers/devices regularly according to manufacturers' instructions. Never leave stagnant water in a humidifier/device. Empty the water tank, wipe all surfaces dry, and change the water daily. 

As mentioned in my February message, Prof. Chris Butler, Professor of Primary Care, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford shared with us on “Evaluating Point of Care Tests for Guiding Antimicrobial Prescribing in Primary Care” and hosted a Research Meeting to discuss research projects of our higher trainees/potential candidates of Exit Exam on 28 February. Both functions were well attended by College members. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Prof. Butler for sharing his expertise with us.

Recently, we have held the 500th Council meeting since the formation of our College in 1977. We also took the opportunity to take our annual Council photo. It was truly a joyous occasion and we genuinely treasure the collegiality and support from our College members. Thank you very much.

As this year’s Hong Kong Primary Care Conference (HKPCC) is fast approaching, the Scientific Programme is shaping up nicely, thanks to the hardwork of the Organising Committee and the Scientific Committee. (please click) The HKPCC is scheduled for 5th to 7th July this year and is to be held at the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine Building. Don’t miss this annual opportunity to meet with the primary care experts and catch up with fellow colleagues and friends.

Dr. David V K CHAO