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Travel Health News(10 February 2015 - 16 February 2015)

Travel Safely during Chinese New Year - Watch out for Avian Influenza

Human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported in Hong Kong and the mainland China recently. Experts anticipated that the activity of avian influenza virus will be higher in the winter season. Severe infection can result in respiratory failure, multi-organ failure and even death.

The Chinese New Year is approaching. The Department of Health of Hong Kong appeals to all travellers to remain vigilant and take the following preventive measures:
  • Before your trip:
    • If you have flu-like symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath), postpone your trip until you have recovered.
    • Bring along adequate face masks and alcohol hand-rub.
  • During your trip:
    • Do not visit live poultry markets and farms. Do not have direct contact with poultry, birds and their droppings. If contact has been made, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
    • Cook poultry and egg products thoroughly before eating.
    • Avoid crowded places and contact with fever patients.
    • If you develop flu-like symptoms, put on a face mask and consult a doctor as soon as possible.
  • After your trip:
    • If you develop flu-like symptoms, put on a face mask, consult a doctor promptly and inform your doctor of your travel history.
    • Do not bring raw meat (including poultry and game) without health certificate into Hong Kong.
The public should practise cough etiquette and maintain personal and environmental hygiene at all times. Please visit the CHP's avian influenza page.

 

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

Guangdong

Taiwan

45,171

15,839

Department of Health of Guangdong Province, 15 December 2014
CDC, ROC (Taiwan), 13 February 2015

India

36,486

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

Philippines

113,485

World Health Organization, 10 February 2015

Vietnam

31,848

World Health Organization, 10 February 2015


Cumulative reported number of dengue cases since 01/01/2015 *

 

Cumulative reported no.
of cases since 01/01/2015

Source of information and date of report

Australia

188

World Health Organization, 10 February 2015

Brazil

37,755

WorldWorld Health Organization, 9 February 2015

Cambodia

107

World Health Organization, 10 February 2015

Japan

20

National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan, 10 February 2015

Lao PDR

23

World Health Organization, 10 February 2015

Malaysia

15,039

World Health Organization, 10 February 2015

Mexico

2,567

World Health Organization, 9 February 2015

Singapore

1,328

Singapore National Environment Agency, 12 February 2015

Sri Lanka

6,603

Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka, 11 February 2015

Thailand

2,352

Ministry of Public Health, Thailand, 10 February 2015

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.

 

United Kingdom: Scarlet Fever

Public Health England's latest report showed a high number of scarlet fever notifications across England, with a total of 1265 new cases reported in the first 6 weeks of 2015.

(Source: ProMED-mail 15 February 2015)

 

Egypt: Avian Influenza, human

On 10 February 2015, a human case of avian influenza A (H9N2) was detected in Aswan Governorate of Egypt and a 3-year-old male was affected.

(Source: ProMED-mail 15 February 2015)

 

Egypt: Avian Influenza, human

Egypt's Health Ministry announced on 13 February that a 35-year-old man died in Cairo after being infected with avian influenza A (H5N1).

(Source: ProMED-mail 15 February 2015)

 

Panama: Hantavrius infection

A new case of hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome affecting a 47-year-old female was confirmed in Herrera province of Panama on 13 February by health authorities in the province.

(Source: ProMED-mail 15 February 2015)

 

Mainland: Avian Influenza, human

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (February 14) closely monitoring an additional human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) notified by the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province (GDHFPC), and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel. According to the GDHFPC, the patient is a 45-year-old man who lives in Meizhou. He is currently hospitalised for treatment and in a critical condition.

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 14 February 2015)

 

Philippines: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

The Department of Health (DH) is today (February 14) closely monitoring a case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by the Philippines, and hence called on the public to stay alert and maintain good personal, food and environmental hygiene during travel.
 
     According to the WHO, the case is a 31-year-old woman who worked as a health-care professional in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She developed symptoms on January 26 while still working at the hospital. She travelled with a family member to Manila, the Philippines on February 1, where they stayed at their home. The patient sought medical care at a local hospital the next day and was subsequently admitted. The patient was diagnosed with acute bronchitis and was laboratory confirmed on February 10. She is currently under isolation and in stable conditon.

     To date, 978 laboratory-confirmed MERS cases have been reported to the WHO globally, including at least 358 deaths.

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 14 February 2015)

 

Mainland: Avian Influenza, human

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (February 13) closely monitoring four additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) notified by the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province (GDHFPC), and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel. According to the GDHFPC, the four patients are three males and one female aged from 51 to 82. Among them, a man aged 82 has passed away while the others are currently hospitalised for treatment and in a critical condition.

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 13 February 2015)

 

Take Precautions against respiratory illnesses and Dengue Fever during Lunar New Year


The Department of Health (DH) today (February 13) urged members of the public who are planning to travel outside Hong Kong during the coming Lunar New Year holidays to take precautions against respiratory illnesses and Dengue Fever (DF).

Seasonal Influenza
------------------

     As the influenza season is ongoing in many areas, all travellers should remain vigilant and take heed of the following preventive measures:

* Receive seasonal influenza vaccination for personal protection;
* Wash hands with liquid soap and water properly whenever possibly contaminated;
* When hands are not visibly soiled, clean them with 70 to 80 per cent alcohol-based handrub;
* Wash or clean hands frequently, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes, or after touching public installations such as handrails or door knobs;
* Cover the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, and wash hands thoroughly afterwards;
* Dispose of soiled tissue paper properly in a lidded rubbish bin;
* Put on a surgical mask when respiratory symptoms develop;
* Maintain good indoor ventilation;
* When influenza is prevalent, avoid going to crowded or poorly ventilated public places; high-risk individuals may consider putting on surgical masks when staying in such places; and
* Maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly, take adequate rest, do not smoke and avoid overstress.

Avian Influenza A (H7N9)
------------------------

     In view of the two imported human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) confirmed in Hong Kong in this winter and multiple cases reported in various provinces and municipalities in the mainland recently, the activity of avian influenza virus is expected to be high in the winter season.

     The public should remain vigilant and take heed, besides of the above advice against seasonal influenza, of the advice against avian influenza below:

* Do not visit live poultry markets and farms. Avoid contact with poultry, birds or their droppings;
* If contact has been made, thoroughly wash hands with soap;
* Avoid entering areas where poultry may be slaughtered and contact with surfaces which might be contaminated by droppings of poultry or other animals;
* Poultry and eggs should be thoroughly cooked before eating;
* Avoid crowded places and contact with fever patients; and
* Wear masks when respiratory symptoms develop or when taking care of fever patients.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)
---------------------------------------

     Recently, there were cases of MERS reported in a number of countries. When travelling to those affected areas, the public should remain vigilant and take heed of the advice against MERS below:

* Avoid going to farms, barns, or markets with camels;
* Avoid contact with animals (especially camels), birds, poultry or sick people during travel;
* Wash hands regularly before and after touching animals in case of visits to farms or barns;
* Do not consume raw or undercooked animal products, including milk and meat, or foods which may be contaminated by animal secretions, excretions (such as urine) or products, unless they have been properly cooked, washed or peeled;
* Seek medical consultation immediately if feeling unwell;
* Avoid visits to health-care settings with MERS patients;
* Wash hands before touching the eyes, nose and mouth, and after sneezing, coughing or cleaning the nose; and
* Wash hands before eating or handling food, and after using the toilet.

Dengue Fever (DF)
-----------------

     Dengue fever is an endemic disease in most Southeast Asian countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Travellers are advised to protect themselves against mosquitoes all year round and take the following preventive measures against DF:

* Wear loose, light-coloured, long-sleeved tops and trousers;
* Use DEET-containing insect repellent on exposed parts of the body and clothing; and
* Use mosquito screens or nets in rooms that are not air-conditioned.

 Travellers feeling unwell after returning from a trip should seek medical advice as soon as possible and provide travel details to their doctor as this may facilitate early diagnosis and treatmen.

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 13 February 2015)

 

Guinea: Ebola virus disease [Update]

Guinea has reported a cumulative total of 3,081 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), including 2,032 deaths.

(Source: World Health Organization 13 February 2015)

 

Liberia: Ebola virus disease [Update]

The total number of Ebola virus disease (EVD) reported in Liberia is 8,931 including 3,858 deaths.

(Source: World Health Organization 13 February 2015)

 

Sierra Leone: Ebola virus disease [Update]

Sierra Leone has reported a cumulative total of 10,987 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), including 3,363 deaths.

(Source: World Health Organization 13 February 2015)

 

Mainland: Avian Influenza, human

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (February 12) closely monitoring three additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in the Mainland, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel. According to the notification of the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province, a male patient aged 61 (in Guangzhou) died while another male patient aged 60 (in Shantou) is in critical condition and was hospitalised for management. According to the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning, the patient in Shanghai is a man aged 53 who was under treatment in critical condition.

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 12 February 2015)

 

Guinea: Ebola virus disease [Update]

Guinea has reported a cumulative total of 3,068 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), including 2,018 deaths.

(Source: World Health Organization 12 February 2015)

 

Sierra Leone: Ebola virus disease [Update]

Sierra Leone has reported a cumulative total of 10,954 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), including 3,350 deaths.

(Source: World Health Organization 12 February 2015)

 

Madagascar: Plague [Update]

The World Health Organization announced on 11 February that an outbreak of plague in Madagascar has decreased but 71 people among the 263 known to have contracted the disease since September 2014 have died.

(Source: ProMED-mail 12 February 2015)

 

Mozambique: Cholera

Nineteen fatal cases of cholera were reported following flooding in northern Mozambique and 1702 cases were reported in the Nampula, Niassa, and Tete provinces respectively.

(Source: ProMED-mail 11 February 2015)

 

Tanzania: Cholera

An outbreak of cholera was reported in the Kigoma Region of western Tanzania and the outbreak involved 3 districts with a total number of 204 cases and 5 deaths.

(Source: ProMED-mail 11 February 2015)

 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome [Update]

Between 27 January and 4 February 2015, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of 10 additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, including 1 death.

(Source: World Health Organization 11 February 2015)

 

Qatar: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome [Update]

On 2 February 2015, Qatar notified WHO of 1 additional case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection.

(Source: World Health Organization 11 February 2015)

 

United Arab Emirates: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome [Update]

On 3 February 2015, the United Arab Emirates notified WHO of 1 additional fatal case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection.

(Source: World Health Organization 11 February 2015)

 

Mainland: Avian Influenza, human

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (February 10) closely monitoring an additional human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Guangdong notified by the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province (GDHFPC), and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel. According to the GDHFPC, the patient is a 33-year-old man who lives in Shantou. He is currently hospitalised for treatment and is in a critical condition.

(Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 10 February 2015)

 

Egypt: Avian Influenza, human

The health ministry in Egypt announced on 8 February 2015 that 4 people were confirmed with avian influenza A(H5N1) and they were from Suhag, Giza, Alexandria, and Cairo.

(Source: ProMED-mail 10 February 2015)

 

Canada: Measles

Toronto Public Health announced on 2 February 2015 that measles infections have been confirmed in 2 adults and 2 children under the age of 2.

(Source: ProMED-mail 10 February 2015)

 

Guinea: Ebola virus disease [Update]

Guinea has reported a cumulative total of 3,044 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), including 1,995 deaths.

(Source: World Health Organization 10 February 2015)

 

Liberia: Ebola virus disease [Update]

The total number of Ebola virus disease (EVD) reported in Liberia is 8,881 including 3,826 deaths.

(Source: World Health Organization 10 February 2015)

 

Sierra Leone: Ebola virus disease [Update]

Sierra Leone has reported a cumulative total of 10,934 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), including 3,341 deaths.

(Source: World Health Organization 10 February 2015)

 

Mainland: Avian Influenza, human

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) has been notified by the National Health and Family Planning Commission of a confirmed human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) today (February 9) affecting a 44-year-old man in Yunnan province. The patient, with poultry exposure history, has developed fever, cough and chills since 27 January. He was admitted to a local hospital on the same day and died on 6 February.

 (Source: The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health 9 February 2015)

 

USA: Measles [WHO Alert]

A total of 121 measles cases have been reported in the USA from 1 January to 13 February 2015 in 17 states and Washington, DC with most of the cases reported from California.

World Health Organization recommends travellers to adopt the following measures::

Before the trip:
All travellers older than 6 months who are going to areas with measles activity to be fully vaccinated, ideally at least 2 weeks before departure.

During the trip:
All travellers should aware of the symptoms of measles including fever, rash, cough, runny nose or conjunctivitis etc. They should seek medical advices, avoid close contact with other people for seven days following the rash onset and avoid visiting public places if measles is suspected.

After the trip:
If travellers develop symptoms of measles, they should consult doctor promptly and inform doctor of their travel history.

Details about areas with measles activity can be obtained from the report of Pan American Health Organization

(Source: World Health Organization 9 February 2015)

More information about measles can be obtained from Centre for Health Protection Website at www.chp.gov.hk/en/content/9/24/31.html.

 

 

Last revision date: 16 February 2015