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Travel Health News Digest (26 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 17 October 2009, worldwide there have been more than 414,000 laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009 and nearly 5000 deaths reported to WHO.
Mongolia, Rwanda, and Sao Tome and Principe have reported H1N1 2009 pandemic influenza cases for the first time this week.  Iceland, Sudan, and Trinidad and Tobago reported their first fatal cases.

In general, influenza activity in the northern hemisphere is much the same as in the last week, though respiratory disease activity continues to spread and increase in intensity. In North America, the U.S.A. is still reporting nationwide rates of Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) well above baseline rates with high rates of pandemic H1N1 2009 virus detections in clinical laboratory specimens (29% of all specimens tested are positive for influenza A and all of those subtyped are pandemic H1N1 2009 virus). Canada reports increases in ILI rates for the fourth straight week but the highest level of activity is in the western province of British Columbia. Mexico still reports active transmission in some areas of the country. Although influenza activity is low in most countries in Europe, in Belgium, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, and parts of the United Kingdom consultation ILI/ARI rates are above baseline levels. Similarly the number of influenza virus detections relatively high, which may indicate the early start of an influenza season. Rates of respiratory illness in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia are increasing but are not yet at levels normally seen in an influenza season (baseline levels are not defined in many countries of the area). Of note, the proportion of cases in Asia that are related to seasonal influenza A(H3N2) continue to decline globally as the proportion related to pandemic H1N1 2009 virus increases. Currently, only East Asia is reporting any significant numbers of influenza A(H3N2) isolates.

In tropical areas of the world, rates of illness are generally declining, with a few exceptions. Cuba, Colombia, and El Salvador are reporting increases in the tropical region of the Americas. In tropical Asia, of the countries that are reporting this week, all report decreases in respiratory disease activity.  The temperate region of the southern hemisphere has no significant pandemic related activity in the past week.
(Source: World Health Organization 23 October 2009)

 

Vietnam : Chikungunya Fever

In Vietnam, a suspected outbreak of Chikungunya Fever was reported in Hanoi.
(Source: Pro-MED mail 22 October 2009)

 

Mexico: Dengue Fever

In Mexico, 2 360 cases of Dengue Fever were reported in Jalisco so far this year, 312 of which were Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever.  The state of Guerrero was also seriously affected.
(Source: ProMED-mail 20 October 2009)

 

Dominican Republic: Dengue Fever

In Dominican Republic, more than 3 400 people have been infected with Dengue Fever this year and among these, 26 persons died.
(Source: ProMED-mail 21 October 2009)

 

Russia: Hepatitis A

In Russia, about 20 children in the village of Kostin in the Ryazansk Oblast contracted Hepatitis A.  Most of the infected children were pupils of a local residential school.  A possible cause of the outbreak is the poor quality of the drinking water available in the village.  More than 250 cases of Hepatitis A have been recorded since the beginning of this year.
(Source: ProMED-mail 20 October 2009)

 

 

Last revision date: 10 October 2012