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Travel Health News Digest (7 September 2009)

Advice for Travellers Planning to Visit Human Swine Influenza Affected Areas

Human Swine Influenza (Influenza A / H1N1)
The World Health Organization has declared the human swine influenza (swine flu) outbreak a global pandemic. Confirmed cases of swine flu have been reported in many parts of the world, including Hong Kong.

Human-to-human transmission has occurred in the present swine flu outbreak. The symptoms of swine flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle pain and headache. Some people infected with swine flu may also have vomiting and diarrhoea.

Advice
Strict adherence to personal and environmental hygiene is essential for prevention of swine flu. Department of Health reminds travellers to watch out for the latest developments in the swine flu outbreak when planning travel. Travellers should prepare adequate face masks and alcohol-based handrub and take the following precautionary measures:
  • During the trip: maintain good personal hygiene, wash hands or use handrub frequently and avoid contact with sick people.
  • Before returning: do not get on board an airplane when influenza-like symptoms develop. Put on a mask and seek medical attention where you are.
  • After returning: avoid going to crowded places and pay close attention to your health. Seek medical consultation from public clinics or hospitals right away if influenza-like symptoms appear.

The Government of the HKSAR requires each arriving passenger to complete a Health Declaration Form and return it to designated collection points.

Use of Anti-viral Drugs
According to interim testing result performed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA, human swine influenza virus is sensitive to two antiviral drugs, namely Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and Zanamivir (Relenza). You should consult your doctor before taking these anti-viral drugs.

(Source: Department of Health, HKSAR, 22 June 2009)

 

Advice for Inbound Travellers/Returnees to Hong Kong on Prevention of Human Swine Influenza (Influenza A/H1N1)

The World Health Organization has declared the human swine influenza (swine flu) outbreak a global pandemic. Confirmed cases of swine flu have been reported in many parts of the world, including Hong Kong.

Human-to-human transmission has occurred in the present swine flu outbreak. The symptoms of swine flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle pain and headache. Some people infected with swine flu may also have vomiting and diarrhoea.

Advice
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government appeals to all inbound travellers/returnees to Hong Kong to observe the following:
  • While overseas, exercise good personal hygiene, e.g. observe hand hygiene and cough manners, and -
    • pay attention to announcements from the local government
    • follow local public health guidelines, including any movement restrictions and preventive recommendations
    • avoid contact with sick people
  • Before returning, do not get on board an airplane when influenza-like symptoms develop. Put on a mask and seek medical attention where you are.
  • If you develop symptoms while on board, put on a mask and notify the crew right away. The crew will in turn follow established procedures and alert ground control. Port health team will board the airplane to assess and follow up on landing.
  • Upon landing, accurately and honestly complete the health declaration form; or present yourself to the port health post stationed at all border crossings if you have a health concern.
  • After returning, avoid going to crowded places and pay close attention to your health. Seek medical consultation from public clinics or hospitals right away if influenza-like symptoms appear.
(Source: Department of Health, HKSAR, 25 June 2009)

 

Worldwide: Pandemic Influenza (H1N1) 2009

Many countries in the South and Southeast Asia like India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia reported increasing or sustained high levels of respiratory disease.  Many countries in the South America like Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, and parts of Brazil are reporting an increasing trend in the level of respiratory diseases.  Although many countries in the southern hemisphere (Chile, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand) have passed the peak of their winter influenza epidemic, sustained influenza activity continues to be reported in South Africa and in the southern and western parts of Australia.  Pandemic influenza (H1N1) virus continues to be the predominant circulating virus of influenza, both in the northern and southern hemisphere.

 

Vietnam: Dengue Fever

In Vietnam, nearly 2 500 cases of Dengue Fever were reported in Hanoi so far this year.  This figure represented a 10-fold increase compared with the same period last year.
(Source: ProMED-mail 31 August 2009)

 

Sri Lanka: Dengue Fever

In Sri Lanka, 24 629 cases of Dengue Fever and 245 deaths were reported so far this year.  This figures represented a sharp increase as only 4 156 cases of Dengue Fever and 85 deaths were reported in 2008.
(Source: ProMED-mail 31 August 2009)

 

Bangladesh: Anthrax

In Bangladesh, an outbreak of suspected Anthrax affecting at least 30 people was reported in Rajshahi.
(Source: ProMED-mail 4 September 2009)

 

Africa: Measles

Outbreaks of Measles spread in different parts of Africa. Angola has reported 99 cases of Measles in southern Cunene Province. Namibia has reported 15 cases.  In South Africa, over 131 cases had been reported by 30 Aug 2009, about 109 cases were from Gauteng alone.
(Source: ProMED-mail 3 September 2009)

 

 

Last revision date: 10 October 2012