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Travel Health News Digest (19 October 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)

 

Worldwide: Pandemic Influenza (H1N1) 2009

As of 11 October 2009, worldwide there have been more than 399 232 laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009 and over 4735 deaths reported to WHO.
Influenza activity continues to increase in the northern temperate zones across the world.  In North America, the United States is now experiencing nationwide rates of Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) well above seasonal baseline rates with high rates of pandemic H1N1 2009 virus detections in clinical laboratory specimens.  Canada is reporting increases in ILI rates for the third straight week with some provinces now crossing the baseline.  Mexico also reports high intensity and active transmission in some areas of the country.  
 
Western Europe and northern Asia are experiencing increased rates of ILI, well above baseline in some countries but activity is generally not as widespread as in North America.  Of note, nearly half of the influenza viruses detected in China are seasonal influenza A (H3N2) viruses, which appeared prior to and is co-circulating with pandemic H1N1 2009 virus.

The tropical zones continue to have transmission that is mixed as some countries have now peaked and are declining, while others are experiencing increases.  In the tropical region of the Americas, several Caribbean Island nations are now reporting increased rates of illness while Brazil, Costa Rica and other countries on the continent are declining.  In South Asia, most countries now report a decline in rates of illness.

Influenza rates in the temperate zones of the Southern Hemisphere have all returned to below baseline levels and very few detections of pandemic H1N1 2009 virus are being reported.
(Source: World Health Organization 16 October 2009)

 

United Kingdom: Mumps

The authority in United Kingdom is urging college and university students to protect themselves with 2 doses of the MMR jab after a huge increase in cases of Mumps in Bedfordshire. In 2008, there were only 2 confirmed cases of Mumps in the county, but in 2009, 61 people were diagnosed with the illness between January and July 2009.
(Source: ProMED-mail 14 October 2009)

 

Philippines: Leptospirosis

On 16 October 2009, the Department of Health of the Philippines said that it has declared a Leptospirosis outbreak in 3 villages in Marikina City, and that the total number of cases in Metro Manila has surged to 1027 with 89 fatalities.
(Source: ProMED-mail 19 October 2009)

 

Cote D' lvoire: Avian Influenza, poultry

An outbreak of H5 Avian Influenza which killed 30 wild birds was confirmed in Cocody, Abidjan, capital of Cote D'Ivoire on 6 October.
(Source: World Organisation for Animal Health 16 October 2009)

 

 

Last revision date: 10 October 2012