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Travel Health News Digest (14 December 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.

(Source: Department of Health, HKSAR, 21 December 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, present yourself to the port health post staff stationed at all boundary control points 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, 21 December 2009)

 

Worldwide: Pandemic Influenza (H1N1) 2009

As of 6 December 2009, worldwide more than 208 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including at least 9596 deaths.

In the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, pandemic influenza activity has passed its peak in North America and in parts of western, northern, and eastern Europe, but activity continues to increase in parts of central and southeastern Europe, as well as in south and east Asia. Influenza transmission remains active in much of western and central Asia and there is evidence of pandemic virus circulation in most regions of Africa.

In United States and Canada, active influenza virus transmission persists but overall ILI activity continues to decline.

In Europe, geographically widespread transmission of pandemic influenza virus continued to be observed across the continent. With the exception of France where ILI activity continues to increase, ILI activity has peaked or passed its peak in much of western Europe, including in Belgium, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Germany.   In northern Europe, intensity remains high, however activity has begun to decline in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Increasing activity continues to be observed in parts of central and southeastern Europe, including in Albania, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Montenegro, Slovenia, and Turkey. Further east, declining rates of ILI or ARI have been observed in Georgia, Bulgaria, and Ukraine. In the Russian Federation, influenza virus circulation remains active, but overall activity may have recently peaked. A high intensity of respiratory diseases activity was reported in Lithuania and Greece.

In Western and Central Asia, influenza virus transmission remains active. ILI/ARI activity continues to increase in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, but may have peaked in Afghanistan, Israel, and Oman. Pandemic influenza virus continues to circulate in Iran, Iraq, Jordan, and in much of the surrounding region.

In East Asia, influenza transmission remains variable. Influenza activity continues to increase in Japan and has recently begun to increase in Hong Kong SAR and Chinese Taipei both of which previously experienced a peak of transmission. Elevated but stable ILI activity has been reported in southern China, but declines in activity continue to be observed in northern China and Mongolia. In South Asia, influenza activity has begun to increase in the north-western parts of India and in Sri Lanka.

In the tropical region of Central and South America and the Caribbean, influenza transmission remains geographically widespread but overall disease activity has been declining in most areas.

In Africa, limited data suggest that pandemic H1N1 2009 virus continues to be detected from all parts of the continent (except South Africa where the winter season has passed). Pandemic H1N1 2009 virus appears to be the predominant influenza virus circulating in northern and eastern Africa.

In the temperate region of the southern hemisphere, sporadic cases of pandemic influenza have been reported in recent weeks but no sustained local transmission has been observed.

(Source: World Health Organization 11 December 2009)

 

Vietnam: Avian Influenza, human

Vietnam reported a confimred human case of H5N1 Avian Influenza which killed a man from Dien Bien Phu city, Dien Bien Province.  Investigations showed that his family kept some chickens and wild geese in their household.  Of the 112 cases confirmed to date in Vietnam, 57 have been fatal.

(Source: World Health Organization 11 December 2009)

 

Vietnam: Avian Influenza, poultry

In Ca Mau province of Vietnam, an outbreak of Avian Influenza killed 178 birds in a farm.

(Source: World Organisation for Animal Health 14 December 2009)

 

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Meningococcal Meningitis

In Democratic Republic of the Congo, Meningococcal Meningitis spread throughout the city of Kisangani following an outbreak in a local school last week.  The serogroup of the bacteria was confirmed to be type C.  By 6 Dec 2009, at least 100 people had been infected, 17 of them died of the disease.

(Source: ProMED-mail 13 December 2009)

 

 

Last revision date: 10 October 2012