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Travel Health News Digest (28 December 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.

(Source: Department of Health, HKSAR, 21 December 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, present yourself to the port health post staff stationed at all boundary control points 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, 21 December 2009)

 

Worldwide: Pandemic Influenza (H1N1) 2009

As of 20 December 2009, worldwide more than 208 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including at least 11516 deaths.

In the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, transmission of pandemic influenza virus remains active and geographically widespread, however overall disease activity has recently peaked in much of the hemisphere.  There continues to be increases in influenza activity in later affected areas of central and eastern Europe, and in parts of west, central, and south Asia.

In United States and Canada, influenza activity continues to be geographically widespread but overall levels of ILI have declined substantially to near the national baseline level in the US and below the seasonal baseline in Canada.

In Europe overall pandemic influenza activity appears to have recently peaked across a majority of countries.  In central and southern Europe, where influenza virus transmission has been most active recently, disease activity in most places has either plateaued (Albania, Czech Republic, Estonia) or begun to decline (Austria, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Croatia, Slovakia, and Greece).

In Western and Central Asia, influenza virus circulation remains active throughout the region.  Increasing respiratory diseases activity continued to be reported in Kazakhstan and in Egypt; while Israel and Oman have been reporting declining trends of respiratory diseases activity.

In East Asia, influenza transmission remains active but appears to be declining overall. Influenza/ILI activity has recently peaked and continues to decline in Japan, in northern and southern China, Chinese Taipei and in Mongolia.  In southern Asia, influenza activity continues to increase in the northern India, Nepal, and, Sri Lanka.

In the tropical region of Central and South America and the Caribbean, influenza transmission remains geographically widespread but overall disease activity has been declining or remains unchanged in most parts, except for in Barbados and Ecuador, where recent increases in respiratory diseases activity have been reported.

In the temperate region of the southern hemisphere, sporadic cases of pandemic influenza continued to be reported without evidence of sustained community transmission.

(Source: World Health Organization 23 December 2009)

 

Hong Kong: Avian Influenza, human

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Hong Kong Department of Health is investigating a case of influenza A (H9N2) infection - a mild form of Avian Influenza - involving a 35-month-old girl.  The girl, living in Shatin, developed symptoms of cough, fever, runny nose since late November.  She was admitted to the Prince of Wales Hospital and was discharged on December 11.  She has now recovered. Influenza A (H9N2) was detected in the patient's respiratory specimen. Investigation is ongoing.  This is the seventh time that H9 viruses was found in humans in Hong Kong.  Five females and a male were confirmed to have suffered from H9 infection in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

(Source: Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, HKSAR 23 December 2009)

 

Malaysia: Dengue Fever

In Malaysia, about 4 000 cases of Dengue Fever with 5 deaths were reported in Sarawak.  This represented a 3-fold increase as compared with the same period last year.

(Source: ProMED-mail 21 December 2009)

 

Egypt: Avian Influenza, human

Egypt announced a new human case of H5N1 Avian Influenza.  The victim was a 21-year-old woman from Gharbia governorate.  Her symptoms started on 15 December 2009.  She was admitted to hospital and received Tamiflu treatment.  She is in a stable condition.  Investigations into the source of infection indicated that she had close contact with dead poultry.  Up till now, there were 90 cases with 27 deaths in Egypt.

(Source: World Health Organization 21 December 2009)

 

 

Last revision date: 10 October 2012