Written by CNN Staff
Hong Kong’s health department has confirmed two cases of multidrug-resistant (MDR) Omicron variant infection, a strain first identified in Hong Kong’s Free Trade Zone in 2016.
In a report published Monday, Hong Kong’s Department of Health said that two fully vaccinated individuals contracted the disease in separate cases last December while staying in two different hotels.
A private-sector patient in her 40s who lives in Hong Kong, but is not staying in any hotels currently, is believed to have become infected by an infectious disease vector.
While the report notes there is no evidence to suggest that hotels played a role in transmission, hospital staff who treated the patient were tested for MDR infection, which is caused by cross-contamination. The team was negative for MDR.
MDR Omicron infection is not a threat to public health, said the report, but adding that vigilance “remains important.”
Last year, the World Health Organization raised the alert level on multidrug-resistant infections, which are more resistant to antibiotics than their existing counterparts.
In 2017, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology found signs of MDR transmission between neighboring hotel rooms in Hong Kong.
The hotel rooms visited by the individual in the new case were also searched for MDR-infected stools. They were also tested for MDR-infected fluids. No results from this round of testing were available as of November 2018.
The owner of the private-sector patient contracted the infection in May 2018, and completed treatment in August 2018. According to the report, the patient had presented all MRSA, C.difficile, Ebola and measles vaccines.
MDR Omicron infection is more likely to affect travelers who have contracted another HIV or tuberculosis infection. It may also be a symptom of a drug-resistant infection.