Travel Health News Digest (31 May 2010)
South Africa: Rift Valley Fever
There is currently an ongoing outbreak of Rift Valley Fever
(RVF) in Free State, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape, and North West Provinces of South Africa
. The RVF is spreading rapidly in the Eastern Cape, and there are now 45 farms in the province which have tested positive for the fever.
As of 19 May 2010, the Department of Health of South Africa has reported that there were almost 200 confirmed human cases in the country. The majority of human infections result from direct or indirect contact with the blood or tissues of infected animals. There is some evidence that humans may become infected by ingesting the unpasteurized or uncooked milk of infected animals. Human infections can also result from the bites of infected mosquitoes.
(Source: ProMED-mail 19 May 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.
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 23 May, 2010, worldwide more than 214 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including over 18 114 deaths.
(Source: World Health Organization 28 May 2010)
Singapore: Pandemic Influenza (H1N1) 2009
In Singapore, levels of acute respiratory infection have been elevated since April 2010 and in recent weeks have remained near epidemic threshold. About 29 percent of patients were infected with influenza pandemic (H1N1) virus.
(Source: ProMED-mail 30 May 2010)
Malaysia: Dengue Fever
As of 26 May, the Ministry of Health of Malaysia
has reported 18 815 cases of Dengue Fever
this year, of whom 60 died.
(Source: Ministry of Health, Malaysia 26 May 2010)
Gabon: Chikungunya Fever and Dengue Fever
An outbreak of Chikungunya Fever
was reported in south-eastern Gabon
where cases of Dengue Fever
were also recorded. The first case of Chikungunya Fever emerged early April in the region of Ogooue-Lolo and later in the Haut-Ogooue where 298 cases of Chikungunya Fever and 82 cases of Dengue Fever were recorded.
(Source: ProMED-mail 29 May 2010)
USA: E. coli O157:H7
, 4 cases of E. coli O157:H7
infection were reported in Minnesota, of which one toddler has been hospitalized and 3 other people have been sickened by unpasteurized milk produced at the Hartmann Dairy Farm in Minnesota. None of the milk involved so far appears to have been sold in stores.
(Source: ProMED-mail 28 May 2010)
Papua New Guinea: Cholera
Papua New Guinea
has declared the ongoing Cholera
outbreak as a public health emergency in Central Province, in which 117 cases of infection and 2 deaths have been reported. Moreover, 132 people have infected and 3 people have died from the disease in the capital.
(Source: ProMED-mail 23 May 2010)
, an outbreak of Anthrax
affecting at least 25 people with 2 deaths was reported in indigenous Wayuu settled in rural villages of the municipality of Riohacha.
(Source: ProMED-mail 24 and 26 May 2010)