Travel Health Service Year 2009

Current Travel Health News

Travel Health News


Travel Health News Digest (15 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.
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 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.

Department of Health
22 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 15 June, 2009, 76 countries have officially reported 35 928 cases of Influenza A (H1N1) infection, including 163 deaths. Mexico has reported 6 241 laboratory confirmed cases, including 108 deaths. The United States has announced 17 855 confirmed infection with 45 deaths. Canada has reported 2 978 confirmed infection with 4 deaths. Chile has reported 1 694 confirmed infection with 2 deaths. Colombia has reported 42 confirmed infection with one death. Costa Rica has reported 104 confirmed infection with one death. Dominican Republic has reported 93 confirmed infection with one death. Guatemala has reported 119 confirmed infection with one death.
The following countries has announced laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths – Argentina(343), Australia(1823), Austria(7), Bahamas(1), Bahrain(1), Barbados(3), Belgium(17), Bolivia(7), Brazil(54), Bulgaria(2), Cayman Islands, UKOT(2), China(318), Cuba(6), Cyprus(1), Czech Republic(4) Denmark(12), Dominica(1), Ecuador(80), Egypt(18), El Salvador(95), Estonia(4), Finland(4), France(80), Germany(170), Greece(19), Honduras(89), Hungary(4), Iceland(4), India(16), Ireland(12), Israel(117), Italy(67), Jamaica(11), Japan(605), Kuwait(18), Lebanon(8), Luxembourg(1), Malaysia(5), Morocco(1), Netherlands(61), New Zealand(86), Nicaragua(56), Norway(13), Panama(272), Paraguay(25), Peru(91), Philippines(77), Poland(7), Portugal(3), Romania(13), Russia(3), Saudi Arabia(11), Singapore(47), Slovakia(3),  Republic of Korea(65), Spain(488), Sweden(32), Switzerland(22), Thailand(29), Trinidad and Tobago(5), Turkey(10), Ukraine(1), United Arab Emirates(1), United Kingdom(1226), Uruguay(36), Venezuela(25), Vietnam(25) and West Bank and Gaza Strip(2) .
(Source: World Health Organization 15 June 2009)


Egypt: Avian Influenza, human

Egypt announced 2 new human cases of Avian Influenza infection. The first case was a 17-month-old boy from Damietta Governorate. The second case was a 4-year-old girl from Dakahlia Governorate. She developed symptoms on 5 June and was hospitalized on 6 June. Her condition was stable.
(Source: World Health Organization 9 June 2009)


South America: Dengue Fever

As of 19 May this year, over 25 000 cases of Dengue Fever with 5 deaths were reported in Argentina. The seriously affected provinces included Catamarca and Chaco.
As of 20 May this year, over 59 900 suspected cases of Dengue Fever and 5 deaths from Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever were reported in Bolivia.
As of 20 May this year, over 3 000 cases of Dengue Fever were reported in Paraguay. Out of which, over 1 100 cases were reported from the Central Department.
(Source: ProMED-mail 8 June 2009)


Saudi Arabia: Dengue Fever

In Saudi Arabia, 33 cases and 103 cases of Dengue Fever have been reported in Jeddah and Mecca respectively since the beginning of April this year.
(Source: ProMED-mail 8 June 2009)


Sri Lanka: Dengue Fever

In Sri Lanka, about 7 000 suspected cases of Dengue Fever have been reported in the past 6 months.
(Source: National Travel Health Network and Centre 9 June 2009)


India: Dengue Fever

As of 29 April 2009, India has reported 899 cases of Dengue Fever. The majority of cases have occurred in the southern Indian state of Kerala.
(Source: National Travel Health Network and Centre 9 June 2009)


Thailand: Dengue Fever

Thailand reported a total of 12 787 cases of Dengue Fever in the first five months of this year.
(Source: National Travel Health Network and Centre 9 June 2009)


Malaysia: Dengue Fever

As of 11 May this year, 19 200 cases of Dengue Fever including 48 deaths were reported in Malaysia.
(Source: ProMED-mail 8 June 2009)


Philippines: Dengue Fever

As of 9 May this year, 6 537 cases of Dengue Fever with 62 deaths were reported in the Philippines. The areas with the highest number of reported cases included National Capital Region with 1 174 cases, Davao region with 1 085 cases, Calabarzon with 807 cases and Central Visayas with 636 cases.
(Source: ProMED-mail 8 June 2009)


Thailand: Chikungunya Fever

Up to 2 June 2009, 24 029 cases of Chikungunya Fever have been notified in 36 provinces with no death reported in Thailand this year. Southern provinces including tourist destinations are mainly affected areas.
In Phuket, 669 Thais and 25 foreigners had been admitted to hospital for Chikungunya Fever.  No death was reported. The spread of the disease in Phuket is slowing down.
(Source: ProMED-mail 10 & 11 June 2009)


Malaysia: Chikungunya Fever

A total of 2 504 cases of Chikungunya Fever have been reported in Malaysia for the period from 1 Jan to 30 May. Kedah is the most affected province.
(Source: ProMED-mail 11 June 2009)


Singapore: Chikungunya Fever

In Singapore, since the beginning of the year up to end of May, 275 cases of Chikungunya Fever have been notified.
(Source: ProMED-mail 11 June 2009)