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Travel Health News Digest (5 August 2014 - 11 August 2014)

Take precautions against dengue fever when travelling abroad

Dengue fever is now endemic in more than 100 countries in Africa, the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. This includes various popular tourist destinations for Hong Kong people including the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

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

Cumulative reported number of dengue cases since 01/01/2014 *

 

Cumulative reported no.
of cases since 01/01/2014

Source of information and date of report

Australia

1.057

World Health Organization, 15 July 2014

Brazil

659,051

World Health Organization, 28 July 2014

Cambodia

1,007

World Health Organization, 15 July 2014

Guangdong

Taiwan

18

688

Department of Health of Guangdong Province, 15 July 2014
CDC, ROC (Taiwan), 11 August 2014

India

5,218

Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, India, 31 July 2014

Lao PDR

820

World Health Organization, 15 July 2014

Malaysia

44,518

World Health Organization, 15 July 2014

Mexico

39,269

World Health Organization, 28 July 2014

New Caledonia

111

World Health Organization, 15 July 2014

Philippines

31,088

World Health Organization, 15 June 2014

Singapore

12,695

Singapore National Environment Agency, 8 August 2014

Sri Lanka

25,708

Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka, 8 August 2014

Thailand

15,595

Ministry of Public Health, Thailand, 30 July 2014

Vietnam

6,430

World Health Organization, 15 July 2014

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 loose, light-coloured long-sleeved tops 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;
* Re-apply insect repellents according to instructions during the trip;
* 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.

 

USA: Pertussis

The California Department of Public Health of USA is reporting 760 new cases of pertussis in two weeks.

(Source: ProMED-mail 9 August 2014)

 

Turkey: Anthrax

Ten people contracted anthrax in the Haymana district of Ankara, Turkey after butchering cattle affected with anthrax.

(Source: ProMED-mail 9 August 2014)

 

Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria: Ebola virus disease [Update]

Between 5 and 6 August 2014, a total of 68 new cases of Ebola virus disease (laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) as well as 29 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

As of 6 August 2014, the cumulative number of cases attributed to EVD in the four countries stands at 1 779, including 961 deaths.

(Source: World Health Organization 8 August 2014)

 

Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria: Ebola virus disease [Update]

The Department of Health (DH) today (August 8) provided an update on the local response in view of the overseas outbreaks of Ebola virus disease (EVD).

DH has noted the World Health Organization's (WHO) announcement that the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern have been met. DH has adopted the preventive strategies which are in line with those recommended by WHO. CHP will continue to closely monitor the development of the overseas situation and the latest recommendations provided by WHO.

As of August 4, the World Health Organization has reported 1 711 cases of EVD in the Western Africa region since March 2014. Besides the cases reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, nine cases were reported in Nigeria. According to the information of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, active EVD transmission is reported in Lagos in Nigeria. In view of the latest development, the DH now advise travellers to avoid unnecessary travel to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Lagos of Nigera.

Immigration officers will assist in identifying arrival passengers holding travel documents issued by the four affected countries and provide them information sheets about EVD. The information sheets will remind the sick travellers to approach port health personnel immediately if they are already sick upon arrival. If travellers have symptoms during their visit to Hong Kong, they should seek medical treatment promptly in the nearest Accident and Emergency Department of public hospitals as provided in the information sheet and tell the doctors about their travel history.

In addition, the DH has started to provide information about EVD to travellers by broadcasting health messages in the departure and arrival halls of the airport today.

The CHP will also issue letters to doctors and hospitals to appeal for vigilance and to inform them about the latest situation in the affected areas. Suspected cases should be notified to the CHP for early isolation, diagnosis, control and follow-up. Health-care workers should also exercise strict infection control measures to reduce the risk of transmission.

The CHP has set up a thematic website about EVD and have informed various working partners, including government departments/bureaux, District Councils and others, on the latest EVD situation and requested them to assist in disseminating health information to the public. CHP has also approached the organisations of Africans in Hong Kong to give them information about the disease and preventive measures. CHP will also provide relevant health information to the public through various channels including the Internet and media.

There is currently no vaccine for EVD. The DH appealed to the public to take heed of the following preventive measures:

* Observe good personal and environmental hygiene. Wash hands with soap frequently;
* Avoid close contact with feverish or ill persons, and avoid contact with blood or bodily fluids of patients, including items which may have come in contact with an infected person's blood or bodily fluids;
* Avoid contact with animals; and
* Cook food thoroughly before consumption.


(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 8 August 2014)

 

Guinea: Ebola virus disease [Update]

As of 1 August 2014, the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Guinea has reported a cumulative total of 485 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), including 358 deaths. Cases have been reported from Conakry, Guekedou, Macenta, Kissidougou, Dabola, Djingaraye, Kouroussa, Boffa and Télimélé.

(Source: World Health Organization 4 August 2014)

 

 Sierra Leone: Ebola virus disease[Update]

As of 1 August 2014, Sierra Leone has reported a cumulative total of 646 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), including 273 deaths. Cases have been reported from Kailahun, Kambia, Port Loko, Kenema and Western.

(Source: World Health Organization 4 August 2014)

 

 Liberia: Ebola virus disease[Update]

As of 1 August 2014, the total number of Ebola virus disease (EVD) reported in Liberia is 468 including 255 deaths. Cases have been reported from Lofa, Montserrado, Margibi and Nimba.

(Source: World Health Organization 4 August 2014)

 

Nigeria: Ebola virus disease

As of 1 August 2014, the total number of Ebola virus disease (EVD) reported in Nigeria is 4 including 1 death.

(Source: World Health Organization 4 August 2014)

 

 

Last revision date: 11 August 2014