Travel Health News Digest (17 April 2005)
Angola: Marburg haemorrhagic fever [update-4]
The outbreak of Marburg haemorrhagic fever continued unabated in Angola. As of 14 April, a total of 207 deaths from 224 cases were reported. About 80% of the cases were reported in the Uige province, where the outbreak was thought to have originated, the other affected provinces include the capital Luanda, Cabinda, Malange, Zaire, Kuanza Norte and Kuanza Sul.
Zambia issued health alert against Marburg haemorrhagic fever in provinces bordering with Angola: Northwest, West, and South.
All currently available data indicate that casual contact plays no role in the spread of the disease. WHO does not recommend restrictions on travel to any destination within Angola, but does advise some precautions. Travellers to Angola should be aware of the outbreak of Marburg haemorrhagic fever and of the need to avoid close contact with ill persons. Persons with existing medical conditions who might require hospitalization should consider deferring non-essential travel to Angola.
WHO recommends that travellers with a clear exposure history be treated as contacts and placed under surveillance for 21 days, during which time their temperature should be monitored daily.
(Source: ProMED-mail 15/4/05, World Health Organization 13-15/4/05)
Iraq: Cutaneous leishmaniasis
In the last 2 weeks, 250 new cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis had been reported in Baqubah, some 120 km from Baghdad.
Leishmaniasis is transmitted by the bite of the female sandfly. The disease can lead to disfigurement of the face and destruction of skin tissue. It is linked to poor environmental hygiene conditions. Rubbish heaps are breeding areas for sandflies.
(Source: ProMED-mail 5/4/05)
In Osh of Kyrgyzstan, there were 2 human rabies deaths recently. During 2004, 6 people died of rabies.
The main sources of rabies were wild animals (e.g., wolves and foxes) and domestic animals (e.g., dogs, horses and cows). Wild animals attacked domestic animals for food, and domestic animals in turn became spreaders of rabies.
(Source: ProMED-mail 8/4/05)
Millions of people are suffering from filariasis in Bangladesh. The mosquito-borne parasitic disease is initially limited to the northern districts but had then spread to half of the country, putting some 70 millions people at risk. Some 10-12% healthy adults might carry infective larvae of adult worms in their blood in these areas.
(Source: ASEAN disease surveillance 12/4/05)
Japan: Hepatitis B
The number of Japanese infected with the A-strain of hepatitis B has doubled in recent years. There were 13 cases last year compared with 5 to 6 annually between 2001 and 2003. A dramatic increase in the number of A-strain cases in donated blood was also reported.
The A-strain of hepatitis B is common in Europe and North America and believed to be transmitted through sexual contact. About 10% of adults who contract the A strain end up with chronic hepatitis.
(Source: ASEAN Disease Surveillance 11/4/05)
Jilin: Haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome
There was an outbreak of haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in Jilin Province recently, with 4 confirmed cases, including one death. The local authority had launched campaigns to control the spread of the disease. Anti-rodents campaign had been carried out.
During this year’s first quarter, the number of HFRS cases was 571, an increase of 87% over same quarter last year. The main reasons are high rodent density and immunisation rate of high risk group too low.
(Source: Xinhua News Agency 11/04/05, 16/4/05)
Mainland: Infectious diseases statistics in 1st quarter
The top five infectious diseases were tuberculosis, hepatitis B, gonorrhea, dysentery and measles, accounting for 86% of the total cases. Measles has replaced hepatitis A as one of the fifth commonest diseases when compared with data last year.
The top five causes of death were tuberculosis, rabies, hepatitis B, AIDS and meningococcal meningitis, accounting for 82% of the total death cases. Meningococcal meningitis has replaced neonatal tetanus as the top fifth disease killer when compared with data last year.
More than 1,200 cases and 113 deaths were recorded for meningococcal meningitis, an increase of 7 cases comparing the same period last year.
(Source: Ministry of Health, China 15/4/05)
Taiwan: Dengue fever
There were no cases of local dengue fever in Taiwan during the period of January to April last year. However, there were 12 cases during the same period this year.
There were also 7 imported cases of dengue fever during this period.
(Source: Central News Agency 14/4/05)
Australia (Queensland): Dengue fever alert
A dengue fever case was confirmed in Emerald of Queensland, Australia. The patient contracted the disease in far north Queensland. Emerald residents were being warned to take steps to reduce mosquitoes around their homes.
(Source: ASEAN Disease Surveillance 15/4/05)
Malaysia: Dengue fever
From late March to early April, the health ministry of Malaysia was notified of around 500 cases of dengue fever per week. Dengue had so far claimed 39 lives this year in Malaysia. Dengue hot spots include Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.
(Source: ASEAN Disease Surveillance 11/4/05)
The district health official of Maluku Province declared there was a malaria outbreak in Gorom Island, where 700 people had received treatment with 16 deaths since mid March. The malaria mosquito might come from brackish water pond in the nearby lake. Insecticide spraying was conducted in victim houses.
(Source: ASEAN Disease Surveillance 12/4/05)
Asia: Tuberculosis [update]
It is estimated that there are 20 million tuberculosis cases in the world, of which 40% resides in South-East Asia, where annually 3 million new cases occur and daily 1,500 were killed. The South-East Asia countries are implementing the internationally recommended treatment strategy for tuberculosis control and this can avert over 0.25 million deaths annually.
In Indonesia’s Jambi province, at least 30,000 residents suffered from tuberculosis in 2003. This represents a 70% increase compared with that in the province in 2002.
(Source: ASEAN Diseases Surveillance 9 & 11/4/05)
Asia: Avian influenza [update-33]
Avian influenza continued to affect Asian countries, a total of 80 cases with 51 deaths were reported in Asia since the outbreak of avian influenza in late 2003.
Vietnam was seriously affected with more cases being reported. The latest victim was infected by both the HIV and avian influenza virus. She lived in the northern Quang Ninh province which was one of the provinces with highest numbers of HIV carriers. In southern Mekong Delta, initial testing showed that 70% of ducks were infected with avian influenza virus H5 strain. As many ducks are raised in fields and canals in the delta, the practice can spread the disease from province to province.
In Cambodia, the Ministry of Health confirmed that the recent fatal case in Kampot province was the third case of avian influenza. No poultry deaths occurred in the village in the two weeks prior to the girl’s onset of symptoms. Human-to-human transmission as a source of the girl’s infection appeared unlikely, as none of her known contacts were sick with similar symptoms before she became ill.
According to news report, millions of fighting cocks are raised in Thailand and infected cocks may have caused at least 8 confirmed human cases of avian influenza.
In Taiwan, H7N3 avian influenza virus was first detected in migratory birds in Guandu nature park. However, the virus does not affect human nor birds.
(Source: World Health Organization 12 & 14/4/05, ProMED-mail 12-14/4/05, China News Service 12/4/05)