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Travel Health News Digest (23 November 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

As of 15 November 2009, worldwide more than 206 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including over 6770 deaths.

In the United States disease activity appears to have recently peaked in most areas. In Canada the ILI consultation rate continues to significantly exceed mean rates observed over the past 12 influenza seasons.

Transmission appears to have peaked in few countries of Western Europe including Iceland, Ireland, the UK (Northern Ireland), and Belgium. Further east, a number of countries reported sharp increases in the rates of ILI** (Serbia, Moldova, Norway, Lithuania, Georgia) or ARI (Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine).

A high intensity of respiratory diseases with increasing trend was reported in Kazakhstan. Recent increases in rates of ILI or ARI have been observed in Uzbekistan and in parts of Afghanistan. In Israel, sharp increases in rates of ILI and pandemic virus detections have been reported in recent weeks.

In Mongolia disease activity may have recently peaked in the past 1-2 weeks. In Japan, influenza activity may be decreasing slightly in populated urban areas. A small number of seasonal H3N2 and H1N1 influenza viruses continue to be detected in China and South East Asia.

In the tropical areas of Central and South America, most countries continue to report declining influenza activity. In the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) countries rates of ARI have declined over the past 3-4 weeks. Overall transmission continues to decline in most parts of tropical South and Southeast Asia.

In the temperate region of the southern hemisphere, little pandemic influenza activity has been reported.
(Source: World Health Organization 20 November 2009)

 

Australia: Pertussis [update 1]

As of 15 November 2009, 11 411 cases of Pertussis were reported in New South Wales, Australia.  This represented an increase in cases compared to the same period last year.  In addition, as of 7 November, 3 739 cases of Pertussis were also reported in the neighbouring state of South Australia.

(Source: National Travel Health Network and Center, UK 17 November 2009)

 

Egypt: Avian Influenza, human

Egypt announced one new human case of Avian Influenza.  The case was a 21-year-old man from Alexandria governorate.  He was hospitalized on 15 November and given Tamiflu.  He is now in a stable condition.  Investigations into the source of infection indicated that he had contact with sick poultry.  Up till now, there were 88 cases in Egypt.

(Source: ProMED-mail 18 November 2009)

 

Cote d'Ivoire: Yellow Fever

Cote d'Ivoire reported 10 suspected cases of Yellow Fever in northwest Denguele region. Among them, 3 were confirmed and there had been no deaths.

(Source: ProMED-mail 17 November 2009)

 

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever [update 1]

On 13 Nov 2009, ProMED posted a report of a news story describing an outbreak of Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever in the Kasai Occidental region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This appears to be an inadvertent duplication of a report that had originated in December of 2008, and there does not appear to have been any new outbreak in the region.

(Source: ProMED-mail 23 November 2009)

 

 

Last revision date: 10 October 2012