Travel Health Service Year 2010

Current Travel Health News

Travel Health News

Travel Health News Digest (22 November 2010)

Hong Kong: Avian Influenza, human [Update]

As announced on 17 November 2010, the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health of Hong Kong investigated a case of Influenza A H5N1 infection affecting a 59-year-old woman. The patient developed running nose since 2 November 2010 and fever and cough on 5 November.  On 14 November, she was admitted to hospital for persistent fever and productive cough with blood-stained sputum.  She was diagnosed to have pneumonia and is now in serious condition.  Her nasopharyngeal aspirate was tested positive for Influenza A (H5N1).  The patient travelled to the Mainland with her husband and daughter between 23 October and 1 November, during which she did not have any contact with live poultry contact and did not visit farms.  Her 60-year-old husband had history of running nose and productive cough but has recovered. Latest laboratory results on 18 November revealed that all her close contacts were negative for Influenza A (H5).

Travellers are advised to take necessary precautions for prevention of avian influenza.

(Source: Centre for Health Protection, Hong Kong 17 and 18 November 2010)


Haiti and Dominican Republic: Cholera [Update]

As of 19 November, more than 18 000 cases of Cholera and more than 1 110 deaths due to the disease were reported from seven Departments in Haiti, including Artibonite, Centre, Nord, Nord-Ouest, Nord Est, Ouest, and Sud. The capital Port-au-Prince was also affected. The Port-au-Prince National Prison has reported 30 new cholera cases in the last 3 days and 7 inmates have died.

In addition, the neigbouring country Dominican Republic has confirmed its first case of cholera on 16 November. The patient was a 32-year-old male returning from Haiti.

(Source: World Health Organization 17 November 2010 and ProMED-mail 20 November 2010 )

Travellers to the affected areas should take the following measures to prevent food and water borne diseases:
  • Wash and cook seafood thoroughly before eating, particularly crustaceans and bivalves such as shrimps, crabs, oysters and clams;
  • Always wash hands before eating and after going to the toilet;
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked food and food from sealed packs or cans;
  • Avoid cold dishes such as salad and ice-cream;
  • Drink only boiled water, canned or bottled drinks, pasteurized milk or dairy products;
  • Do not add ice to drinks and do not drink fresh fruit juice that has been prepared beforehand;
  • Do not patronize illegal food hawkers;
  • Wash fruit thoroughly before eating and do not eat fruit that has already been peeled or cut open; and


Philippines: Black Travel Alert

Following the hostage taking incident in the Philippines which had caused casualties, the Hong Kong SAR Government has raised the Outbound Travel Alert (OTA) for the Philippines to Black. Hong Kong residents are urged to avoid all travel to the Philippines. Those already there should attend to their personal safety and stay alert.

For more information, please visit the OTA webpage.

(Source: Security Bureau, Government of Hong Kong SAR 20 September 2010)


Philippines: Rabies [Update]

The Department of Health of the Philippines reported 264 cases of human Rabies with 206 deaths between 1 January and 23 October 2010. The highest reported cases of rabies so far this year were recorded in Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Bicol Region and Metro Manila.

(Source: ProMED-mail 19 November 2010)

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


Pakistan: Flooding [Update]

As of 12 November, the floods in Pakistan have killed 1 985 people and injured 2 946 people. Acute diarrhoea, respiratory infections, skin diseases and suspected Malaria remain the main reasons for seeking health care in affected areas.

As of 10 November, 417 418 suspected malaria cases and 6 350 confirmed Dengue Fever cases have now been reported.

Moreover, as of 4 November, 36 cases of Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever including 6 deaths were occurred on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

(Source: National Travel Health Network and Centre, UK 17 November 2010)

(Editor's notes: Travellers to the affected areas should be on the alert for possible health hazards and take the following precautionary measures to prevent mosquito-borne diseases, as well as waterborne diseases.)


India: Dengue Fever [Update]

With the morning and evening temperatures dipping gradually over the last few days in Delhi, India, there has been a gradual decline in the number of Dengue Fever cases. There were only 35 new dengue cases recorded on 9 November, bringing the total number of cases to 5 837 with 8 deaths.

Furthermore, on 10 November, 5 more suspected dengue deaths were reported from Khadra locality, Uttar Pradesh state, taking the toll to 25.

(Source: ProMED-mail 11 and 15 November 2010)

(Editor's notes: Travellers to the affected areas should take the precautionary measures against mosquito bite by wearing long sleeved clothing and trousers, applying insect repellents containing DEET on the exposed parts of the body, and using mosquito screens or nets in rooms which are not air-conditioned. Travellers returning from these areas and develop symptoms of the disease should seek medical consultation immediately.)


Thailand: Dengue Fever [Update]

As of 13 November 2010, the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand reported a total of 107 010 Dengue Fever cases with 131 deaths nationwide. Most cases were reported from Bangkok.

(Source: Ministry of Public Health, Thailand 17 November 2010 )


Taiwan: Dengue Fever [Update]

Taiwan has confirmed 89 more cases of Dengue Fever in the recent week, bringing the total number of cases to 1 438 so far this year. Most of the new cases are reported from the cities of Kaohsiung and Tainan.

(Source: Centres for Disease Control, Taiwan 16 November 2010)


Vietnam: Dengue Fever [Update]

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, recorded 2 054 cases of Dengue Fever in October 2010 and this is an increase of 23% compared with September. As of 5 November, Ho Chi Minh City is the city with the highest number of dengue cases reported in the Southern region, with 450 patients per week.

(Source: ProMED-mail 15 November 2010)


Indonesia: Dengue fever [Update]

In Indonesia, 10 230 cases of Dengue Fever with 29 deaths were reported in Bali between January and October this year.

(Source: ProMED-mail 15 November 2010)


Brazil: Dengue Fever [Update]

On 11 November, the Ministry of Health in Brazil reported a total of 936 000 cases of Dengue Fever, including 592 deaths in the country from January to mid-October this year. The number of deaths from dengue fever is an increase of 90% compared with the same period last year. In addition, 70% of the dengue cases occurred in 6 states, including Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul, Goias, Acre and Rondonia.

(Source: ProMED-mail 15 November 2010)


Sierra Leone: Lassa fever [Update]

Sierra Leone reported an outbreak of Lassa Fever in Bombali District, Northern Province on 17 October 2010. A 17-year-old woman and her newborn pre-term infant died; 35 contacts were traced, of whom 4 contracted Lassa fever. Although 150 cases of Lassa fever have been reported in eastern Sierra Leone the first nine months of 2010, these are the first cases reported from Northern Province.

(Source: National Travel Health Network and Centre 15 November 2010)