Travel Health News Digest (14 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)
The FIFA World Cup is now taking place in South Africa until 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 pre-travel health advice, vaccinations, and prophylactic medication.
- During the trip, travellers should be aware of the diseases, such as Malaria, Rift Valley Fever, Travellers' Diarrhoea, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and Rabies.
- 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 contact with animals, particularly with their tissues or blood (especially those visiting farms or games reserves).
- Avoid 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.
- Practice safe sex.
- Bring proper warm clothing with you as it is going to be winter in South Africa.
- Road traffic and personal safety should be observed.
For more information, please visit the following website: http://www.afro.who.int/
(Source: World Health Organization 9 June 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 6 June, 2010, worldwide more than 214 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including over 18 156 deaths.
For more information, please visit WHO's website.
(Source: World Health Organization 11 June 2010)
Asia: Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease
As of 11 May this year, a total of 497 447 cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease has been reported in the Mainland. Out of which, 326 365 cases including 215 deaths were reported in March and April. This represented a 22 percent increase in cases and a 2-fold increase in deaths as compared with the same period last year. Shanghai has also recorded a 40 percent increase in cases compared to last year with 13 371 cases and 2 deaths reported so far this year.
As of 22 May this year, a total of 10 401 cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease has been reported in Singapore.
As of 14 May, 53 percent of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease cases caused by Enterovirus 71 has been reported in Japan this year, which represents a dramatic increase compared to the previous years.
(Source: National Travel Health Network and Centre, UK 7 June 2010)
Mainland: Avian Influenza, wild birds
The Ministry of Agriculture in the Mainland reported that the National Bird Flu Reference Lab found H5N1 Avian Influenza virus in dead wild birds in Co Nyi, Nagqu Prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region. Up to now, no infected poultry has been found.
Dead wild birds have appeared in Co Nyi since mid-May 2010. As of 25 May 2010, a total of 170 dead wild birds including 141 brown-headed gulls, 27 bar-headed geese, 1 chough and 1 wigeon has been found. No more dead wild birds have showed up after 25 May 2010.
(Source: ProMED-mail 13 June 2010)
India: Anthrax, human
In India, an outbreak of Anthrax affecting 18 people has been reported in Orissa. It was reported that the tribal villagers contracted the disease through consumption of rotten meat.
(Source: ProMED-mail 11 June 2010)
USA: Dengue Fever
In the USA, 28 local cases of Dengue Fever were reported in Key West, Florida. The outbreak was first reported in July last year.
(Source: National Travel Health Network and Centre, UK 11 June 2010)
Two local cases of Poliomyelitis have been reported in Russia. Both cases are illegal migrants from Tajikistan aged 8 and 17 respectively. They had no travel history outside Russia in 2010. This may represent the first documented local transmission of the wild polio virus within the country.
(Source: ProMED-mail 12 June 2010)
Fiji: Typhoid Fever
In Fiji, an outbreak of Typhoid Fever was reported in the Province of Nadroga.
(Source: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, United Kingdom 4 June 2010)