Travel Health News

Travel Health News Digest (31 August 2010)

Philippines: Black Travel Alert

Following the hostage taking incident in the Philippines which had caused casualties, the Hong Kong SAR Government has raised the Outbound Travel Alert (OTA) for the Philippines to Black. Hong Kong residents are urged to avoid all travel to the Philippines. Those already there should attend to their personal safety and stay alert.

For more information, please visit the OTA webpage.

(Source: Security Bureau, Government of Hong Kong SAR 23 August 2010)


Russian Federation: Wildfires (update)

Wildfires started in mid-July 2010 in the Central and Volga federal districts of the Russian Federation, and produced a dense plume of smoke over hundreds of kilometres.  Vegetation fires are major contributors of toxic gaseous and particle air pollutants into the atmosphere.  The effects of pollutants arising from the wildfires are known to be able to initiate heart and lung diseases besides exacerbating pre-existing ones. In addition, the elderly and the young are particularly susceptible.

Since the areas of wildfires have greatly reduced and the air quality has significantly improved, the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health recommended on 20 August 2010 that the use of face masks was not necessary.

Travellers to the affected areas should be on the alert for possible health hazards and take the following precautionary measures to avoid heat-related illnesses.

For more information, please visit WHO website.

(Source: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK 27 August 2010 & World Health Organization 22 August 2010)


Pakistan: Flooding and Cholera (update)

In Pakistan, at least 12 more people including 8 children lost their lives on 24 Aug 2010 due to gastroenteritis, and/or Cholera, and other infections in flood affected-areas of Balochistan where hundreds of affected people had been admitted to the district headquarters hospital in Dera Murad Jamali.

The level of the floodwater in Dera Allah Yar is constantly rising, and the district has been disconnected from other parts of country for the last 11 days, without shortages of drinking water, food and medicines.
Travellers to the affected areas should be on the alert for possible health hazards and take the following precautionary measures to prevent waterborne diseases.

(Source: ProMED-mail 26 August 2010)


Indonesia: Volcanic eruption

Mount Sinabung on the north of Sumatra island of Indonesia, inactive for four centuries, erupted on 29/8/2010 and again on 30/8/2010, pitching ash two km (1.5 miles) into the air and about 21,000 people had been evacuated.  Short-haul flights skirting the volcano were delayed.

The Health Ministry had put health posts on standby and distributed face masks, and there were no reports of casualties so far.

(Source: Reuters Alertnet 29 & 30 August 2010)


Worldwide: Pandemic Influenza (H1N1) 2009 (update)

Worldwide, H1N1 2009 virus transmission remains most intense in parts of India and in parts of the temperate southern hemisphere, particularly New Zealand and more recently in Australia.

For more information, please visit WHO website.

 (Source: World Health Organization 27 August 2010)


Indonesia: Rabies, human (update)

Indonesia reported at least 78 fatal cases of human Rabies in Bali in the past 2 years. The latest two victims were a 13-year-old child and a 5-year-old child respectively. So far this year there have been 36 000 dog-bite incidents in Bali, up from 24 000 for the whole of 2009.

(Source: ProMED-mail 24 August 2010)

(Editor's notes: Travellers should avoid contact with animals. Immunisation (both pre-exposure and post-exposure), combined with thorough wound cleaning, is the most reliable methods of preventing rabies. Travellers visiting Bali with prolonged stay or anticipated contact with animals should seek medical consultation for pre-travel health advice and pre-exposure rabies vaccination if indicated. )


Taiwan: Dengue Fever (update)

Taiwan reported 3 more cases of indigenous Dengue Fever, bringing the total number of cases to 15 since March 2010.

(Source: ProMED-mail 26 August 2010)


Malaysia: Leptospirosis

Malaysia has reported some 10 deaths from Leptospirosis. A new death was a 17-year-old from the northern state of Kedah who had swum in a river and attended a picnic with friends at a recreation park last month. The website of the Ministry of Health warns people not swim in public rivers when it rains and to avoid diving if they have wounds on the body because it would facilitate infection.

(Source: ProMED-mail 24 August 2010)


Thailand: Melioidosis

In Thailand, 1 307 cases of Melioidosis including 6 deaths were reported mainly in the northeast region so far this year.

(Source: ProMED-mail 25 August 2010)


India: Cholera

In India, a suspected outbreak of Cholera affecting more than 700 people with 2 deaths was reported in Jammu and Kashmir.

(Source: ProMED-mail 25 August 2010)


Nepal: Japanese Encephalitis

In Nepal, an outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis affecting more than 12 people with 3 deaths was reported in Kailali.

(Source: ProMED-mail 25 August 2010)


Egypt: Avian Influenza, human

Egypt has announced 1 new fatal case of H5N1 Avian Influenza. The case is a 33-year-old female from Qalyubiya. She was hospitalized on 25 Aug 2010. Investigations showed the case had exposure to sick poultry. Of the 112 laboratory confirmed cases of H5N1 Avian Influenza reported in Egypt, 36 have been fatal.

(Source: ProMED-mail 26 August 2010)


Bolivia: Plague, human

In Bolivia, an outbreak of bubonic Plague affecting 8 people including 1 death was reported in La Paz.

(Source: ProMED-mail 25 August 2010)



Last revision date: 10 October 2012