Travel Health Service Year 2009

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Travel Health News

Travel Health News Digest (8 June 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.  Please visit this website for the updated list of affected areas:
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.
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, pay close attention to your health and wear masks for 7 days.  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.
Department of Health
15 June 2009


Advice for Inbound Travellers/Returnees on Prevention of Human Swine Influenza

The World Health Organization has declared the recent human swine influenza situation a public health emergency of international concern. Confirmed human cases of swine influenza A/H1N1 (swine flu) have been reported and are affecting many parts of the world. It is important to visit this website for the updated list of affected areas:

Human-to-human transmission has occurred in the present swine flu outbreak. The symptoms of swine influenza include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some may present with runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.


The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government appeals to all inbound travellers/returnees to Hong Kong , especially students returning for the summer from affected areas, to observe the following:

  • While overseas, exercise good personal hygiene, e.g. observe hand hygiene and cough manners. Those in affected areas should especially:
  • pay attention to announcements from the local government
  • follow local public health guidelines, including any movement restrictions and preventive recommendations
  • put on a mask during your stay
  • do not have contact with sick people
  • Postpone your trip if you develop symptoms such as fever, cough and sore throat. Wear a mask and seek medical attention immediately for your own safety and health of travel collaterals.
  • 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 flight 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 arrival from an affected area, pay close attention to their health and wear a mask for 7 days after arrival. You should seek medical consultation from public clinics or hospitals and contact the Department of Health hotline 2125 1111 immediately if fever or influenza-like symptoms appear.

(Source: Department of Health, HKSAR, 15 May 2009 )


Worldwide: Influenza A (H1N1), human

As of 8 June, 2009, 73 countries have officially reported 25 288 cases of Influenza A (H1N1) infection, including 139 deaths. Mexico has reported 5 717 laboratory confirmed cases, including 106 deaths. The United States has announced 13 217 confirmed infection with 27 deaths. Canada has reported 2 115 confirmed infection with 3 deaths. Chile has reported 411 confirmed infection with one death. Costa Rica has reported 68 confirmed infection with one death. Dominican Republic has reported 44 confirmed infection with one death.
The following countries has announced laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths – Argentina(202), Australia(1051), Austria(5), Bahamas(1), Bahrain(1), Barbados(2), Belgium(14), Bolivia(3), Brazil(35), Bulgaria(2), Cayman Islands, UKOT(1), China(108), Colombia(25), Cuba(5), Cyprus(1), Czech Republic(2) Denmark(7), Dominica(1), Ecuador(60), Egypt(1), El Salvador(69), Estonia(3), Finland(4), France(58), Germany(63), Greece(5), Guatemala(30), Honduras(34), Hungary(3), Iceland(1), India(4), Ireland(11), Israel(54), Italy(50), Jamaica(4), Japan(410), Kuwait(18), Lebanon(3), Luxembourg(1), Malaysia(5), Netherlands(10), New Zealand(14), Nicaragua(18), Norway(9), Panama(179), Paraguay(5), Peru(61), Philippines(33), Poland(5), Portugal(2), Romania(9), Russia(3), Saudi Arabia(1), Singapore(15), Slovakia(3),  Republic of Korea(47), Spain(291), Sweden(14), Switzerland(16), Thailand(8), Trinidad and Tobago(2), Turkey(10), United Arab Emirates(1), United Kingdom(557), Uruguay(17), Venezuela(4) and Vietnam(9).
(Source: World Health Organization 8 June 2009)


Egypt: Avian Influenza, human

Egypt has announced a new human case of Avian Influenza infection. The case is a 4-year-old girl from Kefr El Sheikh Governorate. She was hospitalized and her condition was stable. Of the 78 cases confirmed to date in Egypt, 27 have been fatal.
(Source: World Health Organization 2 June 2009)


Mainland: Avian Influenza, poultry

In the Mainland, an outbreak of Avian Influenza which killed 162 wild birds was reported in Qinghai on 27 May, with 23 093 domestic birds destroyed.
(Source: ProMED-mail 6 June 2009)


India: Chikungunya Fever

In India, over 4190 suspected cases of Chikungunya Fever were reported in Karnataka.
(Source: ProMED-mail 4 June 2009)


Mainland: Rabies, human

Since March 2009, Rabies has killed 8 people and left 2 people suspected of being infected in Shaanxi Province, Mainland. The outbreak has spread to 11 counties in Hanzhong City since March, where 5 523 people were injured by dogs. The authority had carried out a rabies prevention campaign of compulsory vaccinations of dogs.
(Source: ProMED-mail 7 June 2009)