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Travel Health News Digest (8 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 28 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 16455 deaths.

In the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, transmission of virus persists in some areas of Europe and Asia but influenza activity is declining and at low level in the most areas. The most active areas of transmission are currently observed in parts of Southeast Asia and East and South-eastern Europe. Recently, influenza type B is increasingly reported in Asia.

Pandemic influenza virus continues to circulate in South and Southeast Asian countries. In Thailand, activity has increased and Myanmar continues to report regionally circulating pandemic virus. However, the overall intensity of activity nationally is still low in both countries. Respiratory disease activity is declining in all other countries of the area. In East Asia, transmission of pandemic influenza virus persists at low levels in most countries including Hong Kong SAR (China) and China Taipei or has returned to baseline levels (Japan and the Republic of Korea). Of note, seasonal influenza B virus activity has been increasing in the area and is now the predominant influenza virus in Mongolia, China, and parts of South East Asia. Japan has also reported clusters of influenza B related cases.

In Australia and New Zealand, overall influenza activity remains low and at the levels experienced at the same time in previous years. No new cases of H1N1 influenza have been reported this week from the island nations of the South Pacific.

Influenza activity is low in Western Europe and has largely returned to baseline levels. However, many countries of Eastern Europe (Russian Federation, Bulgaria, Armenia and Moldova) are still reporting some increased respiratory disease activity compared to their baselines. The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for influenza decreased further in week 7 to around 3.5%. The majority of those were positive for pandemic influenza and only a very few seasonal influenza H3N2 and influenza type B viruses were detected.

In the northern temperate zones of the Americas, pandemic influenza virus continues to circulate at very low levels yielding an overall low and declining pattern of pandemic influenza activity. However, in Mexico and Peru, there is a slight increase in respiratory disease activity, though the overall intensity remains low and it is unclear how much is related to pandemic influenza. In Central America and the Caribbean, overall respiratory disease activity remains low in most places.

In North Africa and West Asia, influenza activity is low. However, respiratory tract infections in the north western area of Pakistan and Afghanistan are reportedly increasing. Whether this increased activity is due to circulation of influenza is not known.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, several West African countries are increasingly reporting pandemic influenza cases, though surveillance data from the area is quite limited. Data from the rest of Africa suggests that influenza activity in most countries is low and transmission continues to be sporadic. Some detections of seasonal influenza H1N1, H3N2, and influenza type B are still being reported.

(Source: World Health Organization 5 March 2010)

 

Egypt: Avian Influenza, human

Egypt announced a new human case of H5N1 Avian Influenza. The victim was a 53-year-old man from Qaliobia governorate. His symptoms started on 27 February and was admitted to hospital where he received Tamiflu treatment. He is in a critical condition. Up till now, there were 104 cases with 30 deaths in Egypt.

(Source: World Health Organization 4 March 2010)

 

Vietnam: Avian Influenza, human

Vietnam reported the 3rd human case of Avian Influenza this year. The victim was a 17-year-old girl from Tuyen Quang province, who developed symptoms on 19 February 2010, and was treated in the district General Hospital on 24 Feb 2010. Chickens at the girl's house died suddenly 10 days before and the girl had destroyed the whole flock.

(Source: ProMED-mail 2 March 2010)

 

Vietnam: Avian Influenza, poultry

In Vietnam, an outbreak of Avian Influenza which killed nearly 10 000 birds was reported in Khanh Hoa province.

(Source: ProMED-mail 5 March 2010)

 

Myanmar: Avian Influenza, poultry

In Myanmar, an outbreak of Avian Influenza which killed 305 birds was reported in Sagaing. A total of 2 595 birds were culled.

(Source: World Organisation for Animal Health 5 March 2010)

 

Australia: Dengue Fever

In Australia, a locally acquired case of Dengue Fever has been reported in the north Queensland town of Tully -- the first in the town in at least 2 decades. Townsville has also recorded 13 locally acquired cases in this season.

(Source: ProMED-mail 2 March 2010)

 

Puerto Rico: Dengue Fever

In Puerto Rico, an epidemic of Dengue Fever with 210 cases confirmed in the first month of this year was declared by the health officials. This figure represented a 3-fold increase as compared with the same period in 2007.

(Source: ProMED-mail 4 March 2010)

 

El Salvador: Dengue Fever

A total of 1 530 cases of Denge Fever were reported in El Salvador in the first 7 weeks of this year. Most of the cases were reported from the departments of La Libertad, La Paz, Santa Ana and San Salvador.

(Source: ProMED-mail 4 March 2010)

 

Sri Lanka: Dengue fever

In Sri Lanka, over 8 000 cases of Dengue Fever with 46 deaths were reported in the first 2 months of this year. This figure represented a nearly 3-fold increase as compared with the same period last year. The most affected areas included Colombo, Gampaha and Jaffna.

(Source: ProMED-mail 4 March 2010)

 

Bolivia: Dengue Fever

In Bolivia, 246 suspected cases of Dengue Fever were reported in the city of Santa Cruz. 24 of them were confirmed. The authority has declared an orange alert following the death of a young man of 26 years with severe dengue fever.

(Source: ProMED-mail 2 March 2010)

 

 

Last revision date: 10 October 2012