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Travel Health News Digest (31 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)

 

Worldwide: Human Swine Influenza [Pandemic Influenza (H1N1) 2009]

Most countries in the southern hemisphere like Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia appeared to have passed their peak of influenza activity, whereas a few others like South Africa and Bolivia continued to experience high levels of influenza activity. In tropical regions, many countries in Central America and Asia continued to see increasing or sustained high levels of influenza activity. In temperate areas of the northern hemisphere, like North America, Europe and Central Asia, influenza and respiratory disease activity remained low overall.
Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) virus continued to be the predominant circulating strain of influenza, both in the northern and southern hemisphere. WHO was notified of 12 cases of oseltamivir resistant virus. These cases arose in different parts of the world (Japan 4, USA 2, Hong Kong 2, and 1 in Denmark, Canada, Singapore and China). There were no epidemiological links between them and no evidence of onward transmission from these cases occurred.
(Source: World Health Organization 21 & 28 August 2009)

 

Taiwan: Leptospirosis

In Taiwan, 91 suspected cases of Leptospirosis were reported in Dan Township, Pingtung County since 17 August 2009.
(Source: Central News Agency 26 August 2009)

 

India: Japanese Encephalitis

In northern India, at least 200 children died in an outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis. So far, 900 affected children have been admitted to hospitals in Uttar Pradesh State. Some patients came from neighbouring Bihar State and Nepal.
(Source: ProMED-mail 24 August 2009)

 

Angola: Measles

In Angola, at least 99 cases of Measles were diagnosed in the districts of Kwanhama, Cahama and Coroca in the southern province of Cunene between the second fortnight of July 2009 and 23 August this year. Two children died of the disease in Cahama district. No cases of Measles were recorded in Cunene province last year.
(Source: ProMED-mail 27 August 2009)

 

Israel: Rabies, animal

Since the beginning of this year, there were 26 confirmed Rabies cases of canine in the north eastern region of Israel, bordering Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Nine of the cases have occurred in August this year. This was a significant increase compared with the same period in previous years.
(Source: ProMED-mail 27 August 2009)

 

Egypt: Avian Influenza, human

Egypt announced 2 new human cases of H5N1 Avian Influenza virus infection. The first case was a 20-month-old girl from the Monfia governorate in the Delta region. The second case was a 14-year-old girl from the village of Damietta (North Delta). It was believed that both patients were infected as a result of contact with domestic poultry or birds. Both of them were hospitalized and given Tamiflu. Up till now, there were 85 cases with 27 deaths in Egypt this year. The country had only 8 cases last year.
(Source: ProMED-mail 30 August 2009)

 

 

Last revision date: 10 October 2012