Travel Health Service Year 2009

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Travel Health News Digest (27 April 2009)

Advice for Travellers Planning to Visit Swine Influenza Affected Areas

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 have been reported in some areas of the world.  Please visit this website for the updated list of affected areas:
Human-to-human transmission has occurred in the present swine influenza 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.
Advice for Travellers
Strict adherence to personal and environmental hygiene is essential for prevention of swine influenza.  Travellers should watch out for the latest developments in swine influenza in planning travel, and consider postponing any trips to the affected areas.  The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has strongly advised residents to avoid all non-essential travel to human swine-flu affected areas, particularly Mexico.  If travel to such places is unavoidable, the traveller should prepare adequate face masks and alcohol-based hand cleaners and take the following precautionary measures:
  •        Put on a mask during the trip;
  •        Avoid contact with sick people;
  •        Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth;
  •        Wash hands frequently with soap and water, or apply alcohol-based hand cleaners;
  •        When symptoms of respiratory tract infection and fever develop, seek medical advice promptly; and
  •        After returning from an affected area, wear a surgical mask for 7 days and pay close attention to his/her health.     
Use of Anti-viral Drugs
According to interim testing result performed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA, this new swine influenza virus is sensitive to 2 antiviral drugs, namely Oseltamivir and Zanamivir.  You should consult your doctor before taking the anti-viral drugs.
(Source: Department of Health, HKSAR, 30 April 2009)


America and Europe: Swine Influenza A / H1N1

As of 27 April, the United States Government reported 40 confirmed human cases of Swine Influenza A / H1N1, with no death.  Mexico reported 26 confirmed human cases, including 7 deaths. Canada reported six cases, with no death.  Spain reported 1 case with no death.  Scotland of United Kingdom reported 2 cases with no death.  World Health Organization advised no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders. It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention.
(Source: World Health Organization and ProMED-mail 27 April 2009)


Egypt: Avian Influenza, human

The Ministry of Health of Egypt reported 4 new confirmed human cases of H5N1 Avian Influenza, raising the total number of human cases in Egypt to 68.  The first victim was a 25-year-old pregnant female from Cairo Governorate. She started to have symptoms on 6 April and was hospitalized on 11 April. She was in a critical condition.  The second victim was a 18-month-old girl from Kafr El Sheikh Governorate. She developed symptoms on 15 April and was hospitalized on 18 April. She was now in a stable condition.  The third case is a 4-year-old boy from Akhmim District, Sohag Governorate. His symptoms began on 18 April and he was hospitalized on the same day.  His condition was stable.  The fourth case was a 34-year-old woman from Al Gharbiyah Governorate.  She developed symptoms on 21 April and was hospitalized on the same day.  Her condition was stable.  All of the 4 cases had close contact with sick poultry before the onset of illness.
(Source: World Health Organization 21 & 23 April 2009 and ProMED-mail 24 April 2009)


Chad: Meningococcal Meningitis

From 29 December 2008 to 5 April 2009, the Ministry of Health of Chad reported 922 suspected cases of Meningococcal Meningitis including 105 deaths. So far, three districts in Chad have crossed the epidemic threshold, including N'Djamena in the capital, while 5 districts are on alert.
(Source: World Health Organization 23 April 2009)


India: Hot Weather

In Orissa of India, at least 23 deaths were suspected to be attributed to the hot weather so far in April. The maximum temperature recorded in Orissa and New Delhi were 44.3°C and 41.6°C respectively.  In last summer, there were at least 137 deaths in India due to hot weather.
(Source: Xinhuanet 21 April 2009)