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Travel Health News Digest (1 March 2010)

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 21 February 2010, worldwide more than 213 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including at least 16 226 deaths.

In the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, overall influenza activity continues to wane in most places. The most active areas of transmission are currently in parts of south and southeast Asia and in limited areas of east and southeastern Europe.

In Southeast Asia, the overall intensity of respiratory diseases activity remained low and unchanged, except in a few countries. In Brunei Darussalam, influenza activity was reported to be geographically widespread and was associated with an increasing trend and high intensity of respiratory diseases. Both Myanmar and Thailand have reported an increasing trend of respiratory diseases associated with geographically regional spread of influenza, however, overall intensity currently remains low in both countries. Overall influenza activity continues to decline and return to baseline levels in both Japan and the Republic of Korea (South Korea). In Hong Kong SAR (China) and in Chinese Taipei, pandemic influenza virus continues to circulate at low levels. In South Asia, overall influenza activity remained low, however, pandemic influenza virus transmission persists in the western part of India.

In Europe, overall intensity of pandemic influenza virus transmission remained low, except for Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Slovakia, the Republic of Moldova, and parts of the Russian Federation which continued to report a moderate intensity respiratory diseases activity.

In North Africa and West Asia, pandemic influenza virus continues to circulate at low levels. In Afghanistan, an increasing trend of respiratory diseases was report.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, pandemic influenza virus transmission continued to be sporadic in most areas of the continent. Several countries in West Africa continue to report slight increases in the numbers of confirmed cases of pandemic influenza.

In the Americas, both in the tropical and northern temperate zones, overall pandemic influenza activity continued to decline or remain low in most places. In Central America and Caribbean, overall activity of pandemic influenza remains low or unchanged in most places.

(Source: World Health Organization 26 February 2010)

 

Vietnam: Avian Influenza, human

In Vietnam, two human cases of Avian Influenza were reported, bringing the number of the disease to 58.  One victim was a 3-year-old girl, in Khanh Hoa province, who developed symptoms on 27 January 2010. She was recovering from the disease at the moment.  The other case was a 38-year-old woman who died on 23 February in the Tien Giang province. The victim had killed and cooked sick waterfowl.

(Source: ProMED-mail 24 & 27 February 2010)

 

Egypt: Avian Influenza, human

The Ministry of Health of Egypt announced four new cases of human Avian Influenza infection. The first case was a 13-year-old boy from Kafr El-Sheikh Governorate. The second case was a 30-year-old woman also from Kafr El-Sheikh Governorate. The third case was a 10-year-old boy from Dakahlia Governorate. The fourth case was a 14-month-old boy from Qalyubia Governorate. Of the 103 confirmed cases of the disease reported in Egypt, 30 were fatal.

(Source: ProMED-mail 20, 25 and 28 February 2010)

 

Bhutan: Avian Influenza, poultry

In Bhutan, an outbreak of H5N1 Avian Influenza affecting chicken in village near its southern border started on 18 February, with 14 cases of the disease and 8 fatal cases.

(Source: OIE 24 February 2010)

 

Philippines: Measles

In the Philippines, there were almost 700 cases of Measles in less than 2 months, 99 of which were reported in the 2nd week of February. The number of Measles cases recorded from 1 January to 13 February this year was 70 per cent higher than that in the same period in 2009. Many children in the Philippines from the age of 1 to 9 were not vaccinated against the disease.

(Source: ProMED-mail 23 February 2010)

 

Chile: Earthquake

Chile suffered from an earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale 285 miles southwest of the capital Santiago. The cities of Concepcion, Talca and Santiago were heaviest affected. There were reports that buildings had been damaged and 700 people were confirmed dead.

(Source: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, United Kingdom 28 February 2010)

 

Brazil: Dengue Fever

In Brazil, an epidemic of Dengue Fever was reported in Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Acre, Roraima and Goias.

(Source: ProMED-mail 22 February 2010)

 

Africa: Meningococcal Meningitis

As of 7 February, 2 298 cases of Meningococcal Meningitis were recorded in the African meningitis belt. Burkina Faso was seriously hit by the disease with 1 251 cases. Togo reported the highest fatality rate with 25 deaths out of 108 cases.

(Source: ProMED-mail 25 February 2010)

 

Cameroon: Yellow Fever

In Cameroon, 3 fatal human cases of Yellow Fever were reported in Banjoun and Fantun districts of the country's Western Region.

(Source: World Health Organization 24 February 2010)

 

 

Last revision date: 10 October 2012