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Travel Health News Digest (02 December 2014 - 08 December 2014)

Take precautions against dengue fever when travelling abroad

Dengue fever is now endemic in more than 100 countries in Africa, the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. This includes various popular tourist destinations for Hong Kong people including the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

Travellers planning to travel in these areas should take precautions against the disease.

Cumulative reported number of dengue cases since 01/01/2014 *

 

Cumulative reported no.
of cases since 01/01/2014

Source of information and date of report

Australia

1,371

World Health Organization, 2 December 2014

Brazil

547,612

World Health Organization, 1 December 2014

Cambodia

3,377

World Health Organization, 2 December 2014

Guangdong

Taiwan

45,053

14,629

Department of Health of Guangdong Province, 1 December 2014
CDC, ROC (Taiwan), 8 December 2014

India

21,772

Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, India, 29 October 2014

Japan

325

National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan, 2 December 2014

Lao PDR

1,666

World Health Organization, 2 December 2014

Malaysia

93,402

World Health Organization, 2 December 2014

Mexico

110,328

World Health Organization, 1 December 2014

New Caledonia

316

World Health Organization, 4 November 2014

Philippines

90,503

World Health Organization, 2 December 2014

Singapore

17,579

Singapore National Environment Agency, 5 December 2014

Sri Lanka

41,290

Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka, 4 December 2014

Thailand

36,289

Ministry of Public Health, Thailand, 3 December 2014

Vietnam

17,766

World Health Organization, 2 December 2014

Remark:
* Dengue reporting systems vary by country.

Travellers should stay vigilant against dengue fever and adopt the following personal preventive measures against mosquito bite:

* Always wear loose, light-coloured long-sleeved tops and trousers;
* Stay in air-conditioned residence or places with mosquito screens;
* If mosquito screen or air-conditioning is absent, aerosol insecticide and bed nets are advised;
* Use insect repellents containing DEET on exposed skin and clothing;
* Use insect repellents containing DEET apart from applying sunscreen while staying in beaches;
* Re-apply insect repellents according to instructions during the trip;
* Carry a portable bed nets and apply permethrin on it as well as to clothes if travelling to rural areas where dengue fever is prevalent.

Travellers returning from areas where dengue fever is prevalent should seek medical advice as soon as possible if they feel unwell and provide travel details to their doctors.

 

Mainland: Avian Influenza, human

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) has been notified by the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province of a confirmed human case of Avian Influenza A(H7N9) today (7 December) affecting a 66-year-old man in Meizhou, Guangdong Province. The patient passed away on 3 December.

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 7 December 2014)

 

Egypt: Avian Influenza, human

Health authorities in Egypt have confirmed an additional human case of H5N1 avian influenza in a 2-year-old child from Sohag governorate.

(Source: ProMED-mail 7 December 2014)

 

Mainland: Leishmaniasis

A 9-year-old girl from Qingyuan County of Hebei Province, Mainland was admitted to hospital and confirmed the diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis.

(Source: ProMED-mail 6 December 2014)

 

USA: Tularemia

Colorado, USA reported 15 human cases of tularemia in 2014 which was 5 times the annual average for the state.

(Source: ProMED-mail 6 December 2014)

 

India: Anthrax

In Koraput district of Odisha, India, 2 people contracted anthrax.

(Source: ProMED-mail 5 December 2014)

 

Mainland: Avian Influenza, human

The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health is closely monitoring an additional human case of Avian Influenza A(H7N9) in Shanghai. According to the latest report of the Mainland health authority, the 38-year-old male patient's case was confirmed yesterday (6 December) and he was hospitalised for isolation and management.

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 7 December 2014)

 

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) appeals for influenza vaccination before travel in Christmas in view of overseas increasing influenza activities

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (December 5) appealed to the public to stay vigilant against seasonal influenza and get vaccinated early before travel during the upcoming Christmas, as recent surveillance data published by health authorities of various popular travel destinations among Hong Kong people showed continual increases in their influenza activities.

In Japan, the rate of influenza-like illness reported in sentinel sites has been increasing since the week ending 19 October and the influenza season has begun. The United States (US) also recorded increase in influenza activity in recent weeks. In Canada, the overall influenza activity has increased since the week ending 22 November.

As overseas influenza activities are increasing, travellers to these areas should get vaccinated early as the protective immune response takes about two to four weeks to develop. Apart from vaccinations, members of the public are reminded to take heed of the following preventive measures against influenza and other respiratory illnesses:

Build up good body immunity by having a proper diet, regular exercise and adequate rest, reducing stress and avoiding smoking;
Maintain good personal and environmental hygiene;
Wash hands after sneezing, coughing or cleaning the nose;
Maintain good ventilation;
Avoid visiting crowded places with poor ventilation; and
Wear surgical masks and seek medical advice promptly if symptoms of respiratory tract infections or fever develop.

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 5 December 2014)

 

Mainland: Avian Influenza, human

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is closely monitoring an additional human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Fujian. According to the latest report of the Mainland health authority, the 27-year-old male patient's case was confirmed yesterday (December 3) and he was hospitalised for isolation and management in a serious condition.

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 4 December 2014)

 

Guinea: Ebola virus disease [Update]

Guinea has reported a cumulative total of 2,164 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), including 1,327 deaths.

(Source: World Health Organization 3 December 2014)

 

Sierra Leone: Ebola virus disease [Update]

Sierra Leone has reported a cumulative total of 7,312 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), including 1,583 deaths.

(Source: World Health Organization 3 December 2014)

 

Liberia: Ebola virus disease [Update]

The total number of Ebola virus disease (EVD) reported in Liberia is 7,635 including 3,145 deaths.

(Source: World Health Organization 3 December 2014)

 

Netherlands: Avian Influenza, poultry

Two samples from wild ducks around the area of Utrecht province in the Netherlands have tested positive for a highly pathogenic H5 strain of avian influenza.

(Source: ProMED-mail 3 December 2014)

 

Canada: Avian Influenza, poultry

Two outbreaks of H5 avian influenza virus infection were reported in farms of British Columbia, Canada.

(Source: World Organisation for Animal Health 3 December 2014)

 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome [Update]

The Department of Health (DH) is today (December 3) closely monitoring 18 additional cases (including four deaths) of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia(KSA), and hence called on the public to stay alert and maintain good personal, food and environmental hygiene during travel. Globally, the total number of laboratory-confirmed MERS cases notified to the WHO remains 927, including at least 338 related deaths.

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 3 December 2014)

 

Egypt: Avian Influenza, human

The Ministry of Health in Egypt has announced 3 cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N1) causing death in the past week and bringing the number of cases of the disease to 11 in this year.

(Source: ProMED-mail 2 December 2014)

 

 

Last revision date: 7 December 2014