Travel Health News

Travel Health News Digest (5 May 2010)

South Africa: Rift Valley Fever

Situation update
There is currently an ongoing outbreak of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) in Free State, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape, and North West Provinces of South Africa.
As of 3 May 2010, the Department of Health of South Africa has reported a total of 172 cases, including 15 deaths.  Majority of the cases reported direct contact with RVF-infected livestock or animals, whilst the route of transmission is currently unknown in some cases.  Exposure to infected mosquitoes in these cases cannot be ruled out. 
As of 27 April 2010, Germany reported a laboratory confirmed case of RVF in a traveller returning to Germany after a trip to the affected regions of South Africa from 17 March to 8 April 2010.
For updated information on the outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in South Africa, please visit WHO's website.

Advice for travellers
During the trip:
  • Travellers visiting South Africa, especially those intending to visit farms or games reserves are recommended to avoid close contact with animals, particularly with their tissues, body fluids or blood.
  • Avoid drinking unpasteurized or uncooked milk.
  • Avoid eating raw meat. 
  • Travellers should take appropriate precautions against mosquito bites through the use of mosquito nets, insect repellents, and wearing light coloured clothing (long-sleeved shirts and trousers)
  • Practice good personal and food hygiene.
(Source: World Health Organization 4 May 2010,) 


Mainland (Qinghai): Earthquake

More than 2,000 people were killed in the devastating earthquake that hit Yushu County, Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province, on April 14. Qinghai is located in the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau with an average elevation of over 3 000 meters above sea level, and the affected Yushu County is at an altitude of 3 600 to 4 300 meters. Travellers visiting Qinghai should beware of the environmental health risks, including High Altitude Syndrome and Extreme Weather Conditions. Travellers are also at risk of contracting infectious diseases, such as zoonotic diseases (e.g. Plague and Rabies), and food & water borne diseases (e.g. Traveller's Diarrhoea). Therefore travellers should always practice good personal and food hygiene, use repellent against fleas, and stay away from wild and stray animals. Road traffic and personal safety should also be observed.


Worldwide: Swine and Seasonal Influenza

As of Apr 18, 2010, worldwide more than 214 countries and overseas territories/communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 (2009), including over 17 853 deaths.
For more information, please visit the following website:

(Source: Swine and Seasonal Flu Monitor, Centre for Health Protection, Hong Kong 29 April 2010)


Indonesia: Avian Influenza, human

In Indonesia, a fatal human case of Avian Influenza infection was reported in Riau. The victim was a 4-year-old girl.

(Source: ProMED-mail 2 May 2010)


Bangladesh: Avian Influenza, poultry

In Bangladesh, 12 outbreaks of H5N1 Avian Influenza which killed 10 605 birds were reported in the country. The areas affected included Chittagong, Dhaka and Rajshahi.

(Source: World Organisation for Animal Health 25 April 2010)


Malaysia: Dengue Fever

In Malaysia, 4 deaths due to Dengue Fever were reported from among the 1 639 cases of the disease recorded so far this year in Kuala Lumpur. The number of cases was higher than that recorded for the corresponding period last year.
(Source: ProMED-mail 26 April 2010)


Australia: Dengue Fever

In Australia, a third case of suspected Dengue Fever was reported in Townsville, north Queensland. A dengue outbreak was declared last week, a month after the city was declared free of the virus following a previous outbreak in December 2009.

(Source: ProMED-mail 26 April 2010)


Russia: Hepatitis A

In Russia, more than 930 cases of Hepatitis A have been reported in the first 3 months of 2010 in Moscow. This is 2-fold greater than for the same period last year. According to local authority, transmission by water is related to the poor state of maintenance of the public water supply and violation of regulations for supply of water for domestic use.

(Source: ProMED-mail 29 April 2010)


Chile: Hantavirus Infection

In Chile, 30 cases of Hantavirus Infection were reported in the country so far this year. This figure has almost doubled compared to the same period last year. Most of the cases were reported in the earthquake stricken southern parts of the country.

(Source: ProMED-mail 27 April 2010)


Democratic Republic of the Congo: Pertussis

In Democratic Republic of the Congo, an outbreak of Pertussis affecting 74 people was reported in Sankuru.

(Source: ProMED-mail 28 April 2010)



Last revision date: 10 October 2012