Travel Health Service Year 2010

Current Travel Health News

Travel Health News

Travel Health News Digest (2 August 2010)

Health Alert and Advice for Travellers to Moscow, Russia

1.Certain regions of Russia, Moscow included, are in a state of emergency because of the wildfires.

2. Travellers from Hong Kong should be on the alert for possible health hazards and are also advised to take targeted precautions when travelling to Moscow.

3. The pollutants arising from the wildfires in Moscow are known to be able to initiate heart and lung diseases besides exacerbating pre-existing ones.  In addition, the elderly and the young are particularly susceptible.

4. Department of Health is in active liaison with its Russian counterpart and also networking with international and regional authorities to monitor the situation for best risk assessment and management. 

5. Meanwhile, travellers to Moscow and affected areas in Russia are advised to take the following five precautions -

Before departure,
  • monitor the latest development of Moscow's situation;.
  • check for visibility and air quality reports;
  • patients with heart and lung problems may want to consult their attending physicians and should in any case carry sufficient medications;

While in Moscow,
  • wear appropriate clothing and drink more non-alcoholic drinks to avoid heat-related illnesses; and
  • avoid prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. Heart or lung disease victims, the elderly and children are advised to remain indoor and keep activity levels low. 

6. For clarification, paper masks commonly available on the market cannot offer protection against the small particles found in wildfire smoke.  Special designs with valves are needed for this purpose.


Worldwide: Pandemic Influenza (H1N1) 2009

As of 25 July 2010, worldwide more than 214 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including over 18 398 deaths.
For more information, please visit WHO's website.

(Source: World Health Organization 30 July 2010)


Indonesia: Rabies, human [Update]

Indonesia reported at least 78 fatal cases of human Rabies in Bali in the past 2 years. The latest victim was a 40-year-old woman and she died a week ago. In addition, more than 30 000 dog bites were reported in the first 6 months of this year across Bali. The Ministry of Health of Bali is facing a shortage of rabies vaccines for human and needs help. A handful of foreign tourists have reported dog bites, but none have been fatal.

(Source: ProMED-mail 2 August 2010)

(Editor's notes: Travellers should avoid contact with animals, including dogs, cats, monkeys and bats. Immunisation (both pre-exposure and post-exposure), combined with thorough wound cleaning, is the most reliable methods of preventing rabies. Travellers visiting Bali with prolonged stay or anticipated contact with animals should seek medical consultation for pre-travel health advice and pre-exposure rabies vaccination if indicated. )


Egypt: H5N1 Avian Influenza, human [Update]

Egypt reported 1 new confirmed human case of H5N1 Avian Influenza. The case was a 20-year-old female from Shobra Elkhima district, Qliubia Governorate. She was admitted to hospital on 21 July, and died on 27 July. Investigations into the source of infection indicated that the case had exposure to sick and dead poultry. Of the 110 laboratory confirmed cases of H5N1 Avian Influenza reported in Egypt, 35 have been fatal.

(Source: World Health Organization 29 July 2010)


Taiwan: Dengue Fever

Taiwan reported that the number of recorded indigenous Dengue Fever cases has risen to 12, mostly in the southern city of Kaohsiung.
(Source: ProMED-mail 27 July 2010)


Maldives: Dengue Fever

Maldives reported that Dengue Fever is on the rise nationwide, especially in Male. Up to 1st week of July, 473 cases have been reported this year. Children are the main victims, especially those aged 1-9 years. There have been no fatalities reported so far.

(Source: ProMED-mail 27 July 2010)


Greece: Measles

In Greece, a Measles outbreak of 126 reported cases has been ongoing since January 2010, originally related to the recent outbreak in Bulgaria. Of which, 78 are children aged 0-14 years. Cases are mostly unvaccinated. Measures were taken to raise clinical awareness and vaccination of high risk population groups was undertaken.

(Source: ProMED-mail 29 July 2010)


Cote D' Ivoire: Yellow Fever

Cote D' Ivoire has reported 19 cases of Yellow Fever with 2 deaths since 3 May 2010.

(Source: ProMED-mail 30 July 2010)


Mexico: Rickettsiosis

In Mexico, the Ministry of Public Health of Sonora reported that there have been a total of 44 Rickettsiosis cases with 5 deaths this year. Most cases have occurred in the southern region of Sonora, and the disease is spread by the bites of lice, ticks, fleas and mites.

(Source: ProMED-mail 29 July 2010)