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Travel Health News Digest (6 May 2014 - 12 May 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

615

World Health Organization, 22 April 2014

Brazil

148,775

World Health Organization, 27 April 2014

Cambodia

240

World Health Organization, 22 April 2014

Guangdong

Taiwan

3

74

Department of Health of Guangdong Province, 15 April 2014
CDC, ROC (Taiwan), 12 May 2014

India

1,203

Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, India, 28 February 2014

Lao PDR

410

World Health Organization, 22 April 2014

Malaysia

27,562

World Health Organization, 22 April 2014

Mexico

17,362

World Health Organization, 27 April 2014

New Caledonia

186

World Health Organization, 22 April 2014

Philippines

15,374

World Health Organization, 22 April 2014

Singapore

5,181

Singapore National Environment Agency, 8 May 2014

Sri Lanka

8,905

Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka, 9 May 2014

Thailand

5,783

Ministry of Public Health, Thailand, 7 May 2014

Vietnam

4,277

World Health Organization, 22 April 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.

 

Pakistan, Cameroon, and the Syrian Arab Republic: Advice to travellers on vaccination against poliomyelitis

According to the risk assessment conducted by the World Health Organization, Pakistan, Cameroon, and the Syrian Arab Republic pose a risk of wild poliovirus exportation in 2014. As a result, travellers visiting these countries and staying there for more than 4 weeks should ensure that they have received vaccination against polio between 4 weeks and 12 months prior to exporting these countries. They would be permitted to leave these three countries after issuance of a certificate of vaccination by the relevant health authorities.

Therefore, travellers are advised to carry their previous vaccination record of polio during travel in these countries.

(Source: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control 8 May 2014)

 

Singapore: Measles

In Singapore, there was increasing number of measles this year. Seven people were diagnosed with measles virus infection last week.

(Source: ProMED-mail 11 May 2014)

 

Mainland: Avian Influenza, human

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is closely monitoring, as of yesterday (May 9), two additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Guangdong and Jilin according to the latest report of the Mainland health authorities. The patient in Guangdong is a 50-year-old man while the patient in Jilin is a 63-year-old man. They are now hospitalised for treatment.

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 10 May 2014)

 

Germany: Q Fever

In Rhoen-Grabfeld district of Germany, 12 people have been confirmed with Q fever since January this year.

(Source: ProMED-mail 10 May 2014)

 

Nepal: Hepatitis E

In Morang District of Nepal, 6000 contracted hepatitis E and 9 were dead.

(Source: ProMED-mail 9 May 2014)

 

Worldwide: Poliomyelitis

The Department of Health (DH) is closely monitoring overseas cases of poliovirus reported to the World Health Organization.

 During the 2014 low transmission season (i.e. January to April), there has already been international spread of wild poliovirus from three of the 10 States that are currently infected: in central Asia (from Pakistan to Afghanistan), in the Middle East (Syrian Arab Republic to Iraq) and in Central Africa (Cameroon to Equatorial Guinea). The WHO advised that Pakistan, Cameroon, and the Syrian Arab Republic are "States Currently Exporting Wild Poliovirus", which posed the greatest risk of further wild poliovirus exportations in 2014. The WHO also advised that Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia and Nigeria are "States Infected with Wild Poliovirus but not Currently Exporting" given the international spread from these states historically, which posed an ongoing risk for new wild poliovirus exportations in 2014.  

DH reminded travellers going to polio-infected areas should be fully immunised against poliomyelitis before their trip. Travellers should always observe good personal and food hygiene when travelling abroad.

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

 

UK: Scarlet Fever [Update] 

Since September 2013, a total of 8305 scarlet fever cases have been notified in England, UK

(Source: ProMED-mail 8 May 2014)

 

Guinea: Ebola virus disease [Update] 

As of 5 May 2014, the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Guinea has reported a cumulative total of 235 clinical cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), including 157 deaths. Cases have been reported from Conakry, Guekedou, Macenta, Kissidougou, Dabola and Djingaraye.

(Source: World Health Organization 8 May 2014)

 

Yemen & Jordan: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

The Department of Health (DH) is today (May 8) closely monitoring three additional cases of  Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by Yemen and Jordan, and called on the public to stay alert and maintain good personal, food and environmental hygiene during travel.

According to the WHO, the first case in Yemen was a man aged 44 who developed fever and productive cough on March 17. He was admitted to hospital on March 22 and passed away on March 31. He had no recent travel history but had visited a camel farm on a weekly basis and drank fresh raw camel milk. The two cases in Jordan involved two men aged 28 and 56 respectively. The 28-year-old man is a health-care worker (HCW) who developed headache and sore throat on April 22. He is currently hospitalised in stable condition. He has close contact with a previously reported case who was hospitalised. The 56-year-old man was admitted to hospital on April 28 and developed acute respiratory distress syndrome on May 3. He passed away on May 5. He had no recent travel history or exposure to a laboratory-confirmed case of MERS-CoV.  

Globally, the WHO has been informed of a total of 496 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV since September 2012, including 267 cases with information announced by the WHO and 229 cases identified in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) between April 11 and May 4 which were reported to the WHO by the KSA.

Travellers, apart from avoiding contact with animals, especially camels, or visits to farms, barns or markets with camels, they should not drink raw milk, or consume food which may be contaminated by animal secretions or products, unless they have been properly cooked, washed or peeled.

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

 

Jordan: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

The Department of Health (DH) is today (May 6) closely monitoring an additional case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by Jordan, and called on the public to stay alert and maintain good personal, food and environmental hygiene during travel. According to the WHO, the patient is a 28-year-old man from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). He is a relative of a previously confirmed case and was identified through contact tracing activities. He is currently asymptomatic. His respiratory specimens were laboratory-confirmed on April 24. The national authorities of KSA have traced contacts for this case. No secondary cases were identified.

Travellers, apart from avoiding contact with animals, especially camels, or visits to farms, barns or markets with camels, they should not drink raw milk, or consume food which may be contaminated by animal secretions or products, unless they have been properly cooked, washed or peeled.

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 6 May 2014)

 

Mainland: Avian Influenza, human

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (May 6) closely monitoring the detection of avian influenza A(H5N6) virus from a patient in Sichuan according to the latest report of the Mainland health authority. The male patient is a 49-year-old man who has passed away. Avian influenza A (H5N6) virus has been detected from the patient's respiratory specimen.

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 6 May 2014)

 

Guinea: Ebola virus disease [Update] 

As of 3 May 2014, the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Guinea has reported a cumulative total of 231 clinical cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), including 155 deaths. Cases have been reported from Conakry, Guekedou, Macenta, Kissidougou, Dabola and Djingaraye.

(Source: World Health Organization 6 May 2014)

 

WHO: International Spread of Wild Poliovirus 2014 is an extraordinary event

On 5 May 2014 World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the international spread of wild poliovirus in 2014 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) for which a coordinated international response is essential. WHO issued the following States as Temporary Recommendations under the International Health Regulations (2005) to reduce the international spread of wild poliovirus.

States Currently Exporting Wild Poliovirus
Pakistan, Cameroon, and the Syrian Arab Republic pose the greatest risk of further wild poliovirus exportations in 2014.

States Infected with Wild Poliovirus but Not Currently Exporting
Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia and Nigeria, given the international spread from these States historically, pose an ongoing risk for new wild poliovirus exportations in 2014. 

(Source: World Health Organization 6 May 2014)

 

 

Last revision date: 12 May 2014