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Travel Health News Digest (21 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

In the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, Influenza H1N1 activity remains widely variable. In North America, the United States is reporting increases in influenza-like-illness activity above the seasonal baseline, most notably in the southern, southeastern, and parts of the northeastern United States.
In Canada, influenza activity remains low. In Europe and Central Asia influenza activity remains low overall, except in France, which is reporting increases in influenza-like-illness activity (for week 37) above the seasonal epidemic threshold. Geographically localized influenza activity is being reported in several countries including Austria, Georgia, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, and Israel. In Japan, influenza activity remains stably increased above the seasonal epidemic threshold with the most notable increases being reported on the southern island of Okinawa.
In the tropical regions of the Americas and Asia, influenza transmission remains active. Geographically regional to widespread influenza activity continues to be reported throughout much of South and Southeast Asia, with increasing trends in respiratory diseases being reported in India and Bangladesh. Geographically regional to widespread influenza activity continues to be reported for the tropical regions of Central and South America without a consistent pattern in the trend of respiratory diseases (continued increases are being reported in Bolivia and Venezuela).
In the temperate regions of the southern hemisphere, influenza activity continues to decrease or has returned to the seasonal baseline in most countries. In Australia, later affected areas are also now reporting declining levels of influenza-like-illness. In South Africa, influenza activity appears to have recently passed over the second peak (the first peak was due to seasonal influenza A (H3N2) and second peak was due to pandemic (H1N1) 2009).
(Source: World Health Organization 18 September 2009)

 

Romania: Anthrax

In Romania, a second case of Anthrax was reported last week in the Botosani county. The patient had slaughtered an infected cow.
(Source: ProMED-mail 17 September 2009)

 

India: Chikungunya Fever

In India, 63 confirmed cases of Chikungunya Fever were reported in the Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu.
(Source: ProMED-mail 17 September 2009)

 

India: Encephalitis

In India, the outbreak of encephalitis continued to affect Uttar Pradesh. So far, 293 people died in this outbreak and Japanese Encephalitis was one of the causes of this outbreak.
(Source: ProMED-mail 17 September 2009)

 

Australia: Salmonella outbreak

In Australia, a total of 11 cases of Salmonella infection was reported in the West Australia during the last 6 weeks.  Investigation revealed that all of them had history of consumption of papaya.  Salmonella bacteria were detected in some papaya samples collected from a fruit market.
(Source: ProMED-mail 20 September 2009)

 

 

Last revision date: 10 October 2012