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Travel Health News Digest (30 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 22 November 2009, worldwide more than 207 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including over 7820 deaths.

In temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, the early arriving winter influenza season continues to be intense across parts of North America and much of Europe. In North America, the Caribbean islands and a limited number of European countries there are signs that disease activity peaked.

In the United States and Canada, influenza transmission remains very active and geographically widespread. In the United States, disease activity appears to have peaked in all areas of the country. In Canada, influenza activity remains similar but number of hospitalisations and deaths is increasing. Most countries in the Caribbean have ILI and SARI levels coming down.

In Europe, widespread and increasing transmission of pandemic influenza virus was observed across much of the continent and most countries that were not yet experiencing elevated ILI activity in the last few weeks, have seen a rapid increase in ILI. Very high activity is seen in Sweden, Norway, Moldova and Italy. Over 99% of subtyped influenza A viruses in Europe were pandemic H1N1 2009. Impact on health care services is severe in Albania and Moldova. Some countries seem to have peaked already: Belgium, Bulgaria, Belarus, Ireland, Luxemburg, Norway, Serbia, Ukraine and Iceland.

In East Asia, influenza transmission remains active. Intense influenza activity continues to be observed in Mongolia but has peaked already. In Japan, influenza activity remains stably elevated, but may be decreasing slightly in populated urban areas.

ILI activity in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka has increased.

In the tropical zone of the Americas and Asia, influenza transmission remains variable but low in many countries. In the tropical areas of Central and South America, most countries continue to report declining influenza activity, with the exception of Ecuador and Venezuela.

In the temperate region of the southern hemisphere, little pandemic influenza activity has been reported.

(Source: World Health Organization 27 November 2009)

 

Taiwan: Dengue Fever

Taiwan reported more than 70 indigenous Dengue Fever cases last week, making a total of 387 cases since summer this year.  The affected areas were mostly in southern Taiwan including Kaohsiung City, Kaohsiung County and Pingtung County.

(Source: ProMED-mail 23 November 2009)

 

Malaysia: Cholera

Malaysia reported two outbreaks of Cholera in Kuala Terengganu and Sabah states respectively. A total of 185 and 18 cases were reported in the respective states.  The disease spread through contaminated food and drinks because of unhygienic food handling.

(Source: ProMED-mail 25 November 2009)

 

Spain: E. coli O 157

As of 27 November 2009, 14 cases of gastrointestinal illness with onset dates ranging from 12 to 21 November 2009 and travel history to Benidorm, Spain were reported in United Kingdom.  The causative agent was E. coli O157,  The source of the infection had not yet been identified.

(Source: National Travel Health Network and Centre, UK 27 November 2009)

 

Egypt: Avian Influenza, human

Egypt announced a new human case of H5N1 Avian Influenza.  The victim was a 3-year-old boy from Minia governorate.  His symptoms started on 21 November 2009.  He was admitted to hospital on 22 November and his condition is stable.  Investigations into the source of infection indicated that he had close contact with dead and/or sick poultry.  Up till now, there were 89 cases with 27 deaths in Egypt.

(Source: World Health Organization 27 November 2009)

 

India: Dengue Fever

In India, 999 cases of Dengue Fever with 2 deaths were reported in Delhi so far this year.

(Source: ProMED-mail 23 November 2009)

 

 

Last revision date: 10 October 2012