Travel Health News Digest (7 June 2010)
South Africa: Rift Valley Fever
As of 4 June 2010, the Department of Health of South Africa
has confirmed a total of 215 human cases of Rift Valley Fever
and 22 deaths, in Free State, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, North West, and Western Cape Provinces. The majority of human infections occur in persons involved in the livestock industry and result from contact with the blood or tissues of infected animals. A small number of human infections have also resulted from the bites of infected mosquitoes. Moreover, some cases become infected by ingesting the unpasteurized milk of infected animals.
(Source: National Institute for Communicable Diseases 4 Jun 2010 and ProMED-mail 5 Jun 2010)
Advice for travellers visiting South Africa:
- Avoid close contact with animals, particularly with their tissues, body fluids or blood (especially those visiting farms or games reserves).
- Avoid drinking unpasteurized or uncooked milk.
- Take appropriate precautions against mosquito bites through the use of mosquito nets, insect repellents, and wearing light coloured clothing (long-sleeved shirts and trousers).
- Practice good personal and food hygiene.
The FIFA World Cup will be held in South Africa between 11 June and 11 July 2010. The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued health advice for travellers to South Africa as follows:
- Before travelling, check with your doctor or Travel Health Centre for the types of vaccines required.
- Protect yourself against mosquito and other insects bites by applying insect repellents containing DEET, and wearing light-coloured and long sleeved clothing and trousers.
- Avoid coming into contact with animals, drinking unpasteurized milk and eating raw meat.
- Be mindful of food hygiene and water safety. Wash your hands before eating and after going to the toilet.
- Other measures including practice safe sex, and stay away from wild/stray animal. Also bring proper warm clothing with you as it is going to be winter in South Africa. Road traffic and personal safety should be observed as well.
(Source: World Health Organization 9 Jun 2010)
Mainland (Qinghai): Earthquake
More than 2,000 people were killed in the devastating earthquake that hit Yushu County, Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province, on April 14. Qinghai is located in the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau with an average elevation of over 3 000 meters above sea level, and the affected Yushu County is at an altitude of 3 600 to 4 300 meters. Travellers visiting Qinghai should beware of the environmental health risks, including High Altitude Syndrome
and Extreme Weather Conditions
. Travellers are also at risk of contracting infectious diseases, such as zoonotic diseases (e.g. Plague
), and food & water borne diseases (e.g. Traveller's Diarrhoea
). Therefore travellers should always practice good personal and food hygiene, use repellent against fleas, and stay away from wild and stray animals. Road traffic and personal safety should also be observed.
Worldwide: Pandemic Influenza (H1N1) 2009
As of 30 May, 2010, worldwide more than 214 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including over 18 138 deaths.
(Source: World Health Organization 4 Jun 2010)
Mainland: Avian Influenza, human
The Ministry of Health in the Mainland
reported a confirmed human case of Avian Influenza
in Hubei Province. The patient was a 22-year-old pregnant female residing in Echeng District, Ezhou City. She developed symptoms on 23 May 2010 and died on 3 June. The patient had contact with sick and dead poultry prior to the onset of illness. No outbreaks of Avian Influenza in poultry have been found so far.
(Source: Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China 4 Jun 2010)
Taiwan: Dengue Fever
has asked the public to take precautions against Dengue Fever
as the disease's 2nd wave seems to be gaining strength. Some 38 cases were recorded in the 1st round, which started last year and extended into this spring. After the outbreak eased off for more than one month, a 2nd wave has struck, and the number of Dengue Fever cases has risen to 7, mainly in Kaohsiung City.
(Source: ProMED-mail 1 Jun 2010)
Thailand: Dengue Fever
As of 25 May, the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand
has reported 16 110 cases of Dengue Fever
this year, of whom 20 died.
(Source: Ministry of Public Health, Thailand 25 May 2010)