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Travel Health News Digest (17 August 2009)

Advice for Travellers Planning to Visit Human Swine Influenza Affected Areas

Human Swine Influenza (Influenza A / H1N1)
The World Health Organization has declared the human swine influenza (swine flu) outbreak a global pandemic. Confirmed cases of swine flu have been reported in many parts of the world, including Hong Kong.

Human-to-human transmission has occurred in the present swine flu outbreak. The symptoms of swine flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle pain and headache. Some people infected with swine flu may also have vomiting and diarrhoea.

Advice
Strict adherence to personal and environmental hygiene is essential for prevention of swine flu. Department of Health reminds travellers to watch out for the latest developments in the swine flu outbreak when planning travel. Travellers should prepare adequate face masks and alcohol-based handrub and take the following precautionary measures:
  • During the trip: maintain good personal hygiene, wash hands or use handrub frequently and avoid contact with sick people.
  • Before returning: do not get on board an airplane when influenza-like symptoms develop. Put on a mask and seek medical attention where you are.
  • After returning: avoid going to crowded places and pay close attention to your health. Seek medical consultation from public clinics or hospitals right away if influenza-like symptoms appear.

The Government of the HKSAR requires each arriving passenger to complete a Health Declaration Form and return it to designated collection points.

Use of Anti-viral Drugs
According to interim testing result performed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA, human swine influenza virus is sensitive to two antiviral drugs, namely Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and Zanamivir (Relenza). You should consult your doctor before taking these anti-viral drugs.

(Source: Department of Health, HKSAR, 22 June 2009)

 

Advice for Inbound Travellers/Returnees to Hong Kong on Prevention of Human Swine Influenza (Influenza A/H1N1)

The World Health Organization has declared the human swine influenza (swine flu) outbreak a global pandemic. Confirmed cases of swine flu have been reported in many parts of the world, including Hong Kong.

Human-to-human transmission has occurred in the present swine flu outbreak. The symptoms of swine flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle pain and headache. Some people infected with swine flu may also have vomiting and diarrhoea.

Advice
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government appeals to all inbound travellers/returnees to Hong Kong to observe the following:
  • While overseas, exercise good personal hygiene, e.g. observe hand hygiene and cough manners, and -
    • pay attention to announcements from the local government
    • follow local public health guidelines, including any movement restrictions and preventive recommendations
    • avoid contact with sick people
  • Before returning, do not get on board an airplane when influenza-like symptoms develop. Put on a mask and seek medical attention where you are.
  • If you develop symptoms while on board, put on a mask and notify the crew right away. The crew will in turn follow established procedures and alert ground control. Port health team will board the airplane to assess and follow up on landing.
  • Upon landing, accurately and honestly complete the health declaration form; or present yourself to the port health post stationed at all border crossings if you have a health concern.
  • After returning, avoid going to crowded places and pay close attention to your health. Seek medical consultation from public clinics or hospitals right away if influenza-like symptoms appear.
(Source: Department of Health, HKSAR, 25 June 2009)

 

Egypt: Avian Influenza, human

Egypt announced 2 new human cases of H5N1 Avian Influenza virus infection. The first case was an 8-year-old female from Kfr Elsheikh district, Kfr Elsheikh Governorate. Her symptoms started on 24 July. She was hospitalized next day and remained in a stable condition. The second case was an 18-month-old male from Shebin Elkom district, Menofyia Governorate. His symptoms started on 28 July. He was hospitalized next day and remained in a stable condition. Both cases had close contact with dead or sick poultry. Of the 83 cases confirmed to date in Egypt, 27 have been fatal.
(Source: World Health Organization 11 August 2009)

 

Mongolia: Avian Influenza, poultry

An outbreak of H5 Avian Influenza which killed 56 wild birds was confirmed in Arkhangai Province of Mongolia on 11 August.
(Source: ProMED-mail 11 August 2009)

 

Mexico: Dengue Fever

In Mexico, there were some 8 895 cases of Dengue Fever confirmed by 2 August, compared with a total of 10 400 cases registered last year.
(Source: ProMED-mail 11 August 2009)

 

Netherlands: Q fever

In the Netherlands, 333 cases of Q fever were reported in the country in the first four months of this year. Most of the cases were reported from Noord-Brabant province.
[Editor's note: Q fever is a disease that is usually passed from sick farm animals to humans. People can become sick with Q fever 2-5 weeks after being exposed to the disease. Usual symptoms include high fever, chills, severe headache, muscle pain, bone pain, and weakness. Pneumonia occurs in about half of the cases. Travellers should avoid visiting farms in affected areas, and should drink only boiled water or pasteurized dairy products.]
(Source: ProMED-mail 14 August 2009)

 

 

Last revision date: 10 October 2012