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Travel Health News Digest (25 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 17 January 2010, worldwide more than 209 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including at least 14142 deaths.

The overall situation is largely unchanged since last week. The most intense transmission of pandemic influenza virus continues to occur in North Africa, South Asia, and in limited areas of Eastern Europe. Overall pandemic influenza activity in the temperate northern hemisphere peaked between late October and late November 2009 and has continued to decline since.

In North Africa, limited data suggest that transmission of pandemic influenza virus remains geographically widespread and active throughout the region, but has likely recently peaked in most places. During early January 2010 only the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya reported an increasing trend in respiratory diseases activity. Egypt is now reporting a declining trend after increases in respiratory diseases activity throughout December 2009, suggesting a recent peak in activity during early January 2010. In West Asia, limited data suggests pandemic influenza virus transmission remains geographically widespread however overall activity has been declining in most places during December and January.

In South Asia, active transmission of pandemic influenza virus persists in the northern and western parts of the subcontinent, however overall activity has recently peaked. In India, influenza activity has been largely confined to the northern and western states; activity in the northern states peaked during mid December 2009 and in the western states during early January 2010. In Nepal, active transmission of virus persists, and the trend in respiratory diseases activity remains unchanged since the previous week after reporting continuous increases in activity since late October 2009.

In Europe, pandemic influenza virus transmission remains geographically widespread across parts of western, central, and southeastern Europe, however overall influenza activity continued to decline or remain low in most countries. The areas of most intense transmission currently include Poland, Austria, Estonia, Romania, Hungary, and Moldova; however, in all but Romania, ILI activity has declined significantly since peaking in November. The overall rate of specimens testing positive for influenza fell to 20% in Europe after reaching a peak of 45% during early November 2009. Pandemic H1N1 2009 virus continues to be predominant circulating influenza virus in the European region with only sporadic detections of seasonal influenza viruses.

In East Asia, pandemic influenza activity remains widespread but continues to decline in most places. Mongolia reported a very high intensity of respiratory diseases during early January 2010; rates of ILI have been elevated above expected seasonal levels since late October 2009 but are well below a significant peak of activity observed during November 2009. In Japan, overall influenza activity continued to decline since peaking at the end of November 2009, however regional increases in activity were observed during late December on the southern island of Okinawa. In China, Hong Kong SAR, and Chinese Taipei pandemic influenza activity remains widespread but continues to decline or remain stable. Pandemic H1N1 continues to be the predominant circulating virus in the region but seasonal H3N2 viruses continue to circulate in very small numbers in northern China.

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 temperate regions of the southern hemisphere, sporadic cases of pandemic influenza continued to be reported without evidence of sustained community transmission.

(Source: World Health Organization 22 January 2010)

 

Egypt: Avian Influenza, human

The Ministry of Health in Egypt reported the 91st human case of H5N1 Avian Influenza. The case was a 20-year-old woman from Beni Suef, Beba District. She developed symptoms on 6 January. Her family reported that she had contact with sick and dead poultry. She remained in a stable condition.

(Source: ProMED-mail 20 January 2010)

 

Indonesia: Dengue fever

Since December 2009, 176 people have been hospitalized and 2 people have died in East Kalimantan of Indonesia after infected with Dengue Fever. Local expert claimed the outbreak was already out of control.
Local authority in Jember regency of East Java has recorded a total of 141 cases of dengue fever in the first 11 days in 2010 and the number is expected to increase in coming weeks.

(Source: ProMED-mail 19 January 2010)

 

Malaysia: Dengue fever

In Malaysia, more people were infected with Dengue Fever between last year 2009 and 2 Jan 2010 in Sarawak. During this period, 4579 cases of dengue fever were reported as compared with 1527 cases in 2008.

(Source: ProMED-mail 19 January 2010)

 

Sri Lanka: Dengue fever

In Sri Lanka, 308 persons were admitted to hospital in Jaffna Municipal Council due to Dengue Fever in December 2009 with 15 deaths.

(Source: ProMED-mail 19 January 2010)

 

Zimbabwe: Measles

In Zimbabwe, an estimated 1 052 suspected cases and 161 confirmed cases of Measles were reported respectively. At least 41 people died from the disease. Harare, the capital, was the most affected place and recorded an accumulative 52 confirmed cases of the disease by 10 January. The spread of the disease was attributed to the reluctance of receiving measles vaccination on religious grounds in some people.

(Source: ProMED-mail 20 January 2010)

 

 

Last revision date: 10 October 2012