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Travel Health News Digest (18 January 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 10 January 2010, worldwide more than 208 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including at least 13554 deaths.

The most intense areas of pandemic influenza virus transmission currently are in parts of North Africa, South Asia, and east and southeastern Europe.

In North Africa, transmission of pandemic influenza virus remains active throughout the region, particularly in Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt.

In South Asia, , increasing ARI activity and geographically regional to widespread influenza activity was reported in Nepal during December and January. In India, overall activity may have peaked during mid to late December. In Sri Lanka, geographically widespread transmission with increasing trend of respiratory diseases was reported throughout December, however activity may have recently plateaued.

In Europe, pandemic influenza transmission remains geographically widespread throughout the continent, however, overall activity continued to decline substantially since November. A moderate intensity of respiratory diseases activity was reported in Romania, Ukraine, Turkey, and Switzerland.

In East Asia, influenza activity remains widespread but continues to decline overall. In Japan, influenza activity remains elevated but has declined since peaking at the end of November 2009. Although influenza transmission remains active and regionally variable in China, overall activity has declined substantially since peaking during mid November 2009 in northern and southern China.

In Hong Kong SAR (China), influenza activity remained stably elevated but substantially lower than a large peak of activity during late September and early October 2009. In Mongolia, rates of ILI have been elevated above seasonal baseline since late October 2009 but declined substantially since a peak of activity was observed during November 2009. In South Korea, geographically regional influenza activity with increasing respiratory diseases trend was reported during early January 2010.

In the Americas, both in the tropical and northern temperate zones, overall pandemic influenza activity continued to decline or remain low. In North America, peak influenza activity occurred during early, mid, and late October in Mexico, the United States, and Canada, respectively. Small areas of increased influenza activity may be occurring in central and northern Mexico.

In temperate regions of the southern hemisphere, sporadic cases of pandemic influenza continued to be reported without evidence of sustained community transmission. This suggests that the level of population immunity in areas that experienced intense, high-level transmission during a winter season is high enough to prevent sustained transmission from recurring during the summer.
(Source: World Health Organization 8 January 2010)

 

Haiti: Earthquake

Haiti suffered from an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale near the capital Port-au-Prince. There were reports that buildings had been damaged and tens of thousands were feared dead.
(Source: World Travel Watch 13 January 2010)

 

India: Avian Influenza, poultry

In India, an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5 Avian Influenza which killed 1 000 birds was reported in a village in West Bengal Province.
(Source: World Organisation for Animal Health 15 January 2010)

 

Nepal: Enteric Fever

In Nepal, 40 Israeli travellers contracted Enteric Fever after travelling in Pokhara.
(Source: ProMED-mail 11 January 2010)

 

Nicaragua: Dengue fever

Nicaragua declared a state of health emergency in the Leon municipality, 90 km northwest of the capital Managua, in facing an outbreak of Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF), after confirming the death of a woman due to DHF and the hospitalization of 2 pregnant women and a youth of 12 years of age. At least 10 cases of Dengue Fever have presented in the Leon municipality.
 
(Source: ProMED-mail 12 January 2010)

 

Australia: Melioidosis

In Australia, 9 new cases of Melioidosis were reported in Northern Territory in the past one month. The bacterium causing the disease lives below the soil surface.  People may get infected while walking in muddy water and handling water or mud-soaked items after flooding.
 
(Source: ProMED-mail 13 January 2010)

 

 

Last revision date: 10 October 2012