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Travel Health News Digest (31 December 2013 - 6 January 2014)

Take precautions against dengue fever when travelling abroad

Dengue fever is an endemic disease in most Southeast Asian countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Travellers visiting these places are advised to protect themselves against mosquitoes all year round.

The recent dengue fever activity in Asia has been more severe. Various popular tourist attractions among Hong Kong people including Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia, observed recent persistent increase in the number of dengue fever cases. Other neighbouring Asian countries such as Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Pakistan and India, also recorded rising dengue fever activities.

Outbreaks of dengue fever were observed in Guangdong province in China, Brazil, Costa Rica, Columbia, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic in the recent year.. It was expected that dengue fever activities will continue to rise in coming months in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Travellers planning to travel in these areas should take precautions against the disease.

Cumulative reported number of dengue cases since 01/01/2013 *

 

Cumulative reported no. of cases since 01/01/2013

Source of information and
date of report

Australia

1,665

World Health Organization, 25 December 2013

Brazil

1,451,432

World Health Organization, 13 December 2013

Cambodia

16,722

World Health Organization, 25 December 2013

China
  Guangdong province


753


Department of Health of Guangdong Province, 15 October 2013

India

55,063

Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, India, 28 October 2013

Lao PDR

44,098

World Health Organization, 25 December 2013

Malaysia

39,222

World Health Organization, 25 December 2013

Mexico

221,271

World Health Organization, 13 December 2013

New Caledonia

10,548

World Health Organization, 25 December 2013

Philippines

166,107

World Health Organization, 25 December 2013

Singapore

22,529

Singapore National Environment Agency, 5 January 2014

Sri Lanka

31,413

Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka, 2 January 2014

Taiwan

851

CDC, ROC (Taiwan), 5 January 2014

Thailand

150,934

Ministry of Public Health, Thailand, 25 December 2013

Vietnam

60,588

World Health Organization, 25 December 2013

Remark:
* Dengue reporting systems vary by country.

Travellers should stay vigilant against dengue fever and adopt the following personal preventive measures against mosquito bite:

* Always wear long-sleeved clothing and trousers;
* Stay in air-conditioned residence or places with mosquito screens;
* If mosquito screen or air-conditioning is absent, aerosol insecticide and bed nets are advised;
* Use insect repellents containing DEET on exposed skin and clothing;
* Use insect repellents containing DEET apart from applying sunscreen while staying in beaches;
* Carry a portable bed nets and apply permethrin on it as well as to clothes if travelling to rural areas where dengue fever is prevalent.

Travellers returning from areas where dengue fever is prevalent should seek medical advice as soon as possible if they feel unwell and provide travel details to their doctors.

 

Mainland: Avian Influenza, human

The Centre for Health Protection received notification from the National Health & Family Planning Commission of an additional human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Zhejiang affecting a 34-year-old woman. The patient fell ill on December 29, and tested positive for H7N9 on January 4. Her current condition is critical. So far, a total of 146 human cases of H7N9 have been confirmed in the Mainland, including Zhejiang (52 cases), Shanghai (34 cases), Jiangsu (28 cases), Guangdong (six cases), Jiangxi (six cases), Fujian (five cases), Anhui (four cases), Henan (four cases), Beijing (two cases), Hunan (two cases), Shandong (two cases) and Hebei (one case).

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 5 January 2014)

 

United Arab Emirates: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

The Centre for Health Protection is closely monitoring an additional case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome the United Arab Emirates reported to the World Health Organization, involving a 33-year-old male healthcare worker in Dubai. The man came into contact with an earlier confirmed patient, and fell ill on December 27.He was hospitalised the next day, and the case was laboratory confirmed on December 29.This brings the latest global number of confirmed cases of the disease to 177, including 74 deaths.

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 4 January 2014)

 

Peru: Plague [Update]

A new case of bubonic plague was reported in an adult woman in the province of Ascope, Peru. With this case, there were 6 confirmed cases of plague in La Libertad region.

(Source: ProMED-mail 4 January 2014)

 

Mainland: Avian Influenza, human

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (January 4) verified with the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) an additional human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Shanghai affecting a man aged 86.

The case was confirmed yesterday (January 3) and the patient is currently admitted to a local hospital for treatment.

To date, a total of 145 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been confirmed in the Mainland, including Zhejiang (51 cases), Shanghai (34 cases), Jiangsu (28 cases), Guangdong (six cases), Jiangxi (six cases), Fujian (five cases), Anhui (four cases), Henan (four cases), Beijing (two cases), Hunan (two cases), Shandong (two cases) and Hebei (one case).

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 4 January 2014)

 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

The Department of Health is closely monitoring six additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome reported to the World Health Organization by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) (five cases) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (one case).

 According to the WHO, the first case in the KSA is a man aged 57 with underlying illnesses who is now under intensive care. The second case is a male patient aged 73 who died on December 17, 2013. Both patients are from the KSA's capital with no travel history. No known exposures to animals or confirmed patients have been identified. The remaining three cases, including two men and one woman, are healthcare workers who are asymptomatic.

Regarding the case in the UAE, the female patient aged 59 is currently hospitalised under isolation. She is asymptomatic with no history of contact with animals or travel history. She is the wife of the male patient aged 68 earlier confirmed with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and the man earlier died.

This brings the latest global number of confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome to 176, including 74 deaths.

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 1 January 2014)

 

Taiwan: Avian Influenza, human

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) tonight (December 31) noted a confirmed human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) affecting a man aged 86 in Taiwan.

The patient, who lives in Jiangsu Province in Mainland China, travelled to Taiwan on December 17. He had onset of symptoms including loss of appetite and chest discomfort since December 19. He sought medical consultation from a local hospital on December 24. His specimen tested positive for the avian influenza A(H7N9) virus upon testing by the health authority in Taiwan today. He is currently admitted for further management.

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 31 December 2013)

 

India: Japanese Encephalitis

In Bihar, India, eight cases of Japanese Encephalitis were reported recently.

(Source: ProMED-mail 31 December 2013)

 

 

Last revision date: 6 January 2014