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With over 30 years at the forefront of travel health, MASTA is proud to bring you alerts and topical information from across the globe. Make MASTA your one stop shop for expert advice, leaving you concentrate on what is most important… enjoying your travels.

MASTA Travel Health Alert- 19th October 2016


An outbreak of chikungunya, with over 500 cases, has been reported from Maasin, Leyte island (C), Jul-Sep 16.

Chikungunya (CHIK) is a viral infection spread by day-time biting mosquitoes. Symptoms may include fever and muscle/joint pain. Some people experience persistent joint pain and fatigue lasting weeks or months.


Over 76,700 probable cases (10 deaths) of dengue fever have been reported from 21 provinces, Jan-Sep 16. 3,935 probable cases were reported in 2015.


1,760 cases of dengue fever have been reported Jan-Sep 16, numbers are reducing following the seasonal trend. 1,667 confirmed cases of dengue fever were reported in 2015, this was a consistent figure with previous years. Cases are reported each year on the NE coast of Queensland especially around Cairns and Townsville.


Over 4,000 probable cases of dengue fever have been reported Jan-Sep 16. Most affected regions: Metro Panama City, Panama Oeste (E) and Bocas del Toro (N). Over 2,200 probable cases were reported in 2015.


Dengue outbreaks have been reported in many regions including Cebu, Central Visayas, Calabarzon, Northern Mindanao, Central Luzon, Western Visayas and Soccsksargen, Jun-Sep 16. Over 101,000 suspected cases (422 deaths) have been recorded countrywide, Jan-Aug 16. 200,415 suspected cases were reported in 2015.

Sri Lanka

Over 41,000 cases of dengue fever have been recorded, Jan-Sep 16. Western province, including Colombo municipality (13,000 cases), Gampaha and Kalutara are most affected. Kandy in Central Province also reports many cases. Over 26,200 cases were reported during 2015.


Dengue fever is a continuing problem, over 11,300 cases have been reported from Ho Chi Minh City, Jan-Oct 16. Figures are much higher for this reporting period than 2015. Overall, 49,000 cases (17 deaths) have been reported from 48 of 63 provinces, Jan-Aug 16. Nearly 98,000 cases (61 deaths) were reported from 54 provinces in 2015. The southern region including Ho Chi Minh City was worst affected.

Dengue fever is a viral infection spread by day-time biting mosquitoes. It is widespread across over 110 countries with large outbreaks reported in many regions including South East Asia and South/Central America. Dengue fever commonly causes flu-like symptoms including fever, joint pain and rash. Severe forms of the disease are rare in travellers but can lead to excessive bleeding and organ failure.


Following Hurricane Matthew in Oct 16, health authorities anticipate the number of cases of cholera to further increase. Over 27,000 cases (255 related deaths) have been reported, Jan-Sep 16. The departments of West, North, Artibonite and Centre are most affected. 36,045 cases (179 deaths) were reported in 2015. At least 770,000 cases (over 9,200 deaths) have been reported since the epidemic began in 2010.

Cholera is a bacterial infection usually spread through contaminated food and water in areas with poor sanitation. The risk is highest for those with limited access to safe water and medical care such as aid workers and travellers to remote areas with reported outbreaks. Symptoms include watery diarrhoea and dehydration. An oral vaccine is available for those at particular risk.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Ministry of Health continue to report additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Oct 16. 1,462 cases (612 deaths) have been reported since 2012.

MERS-CoV is a viral infection which affects the respiratory system and can be fatal. Human to human transmission has been reported including amongst healthcare workers. There is some evidence that camels may also transmit the disease. Travellers returning from the Middle East who develop a significant respiratory illness with fever and cough should seek medical advice. There are no travel restrictions.


Health authorities have reported 4 cases of wild polio virus (WPV) in Gwarzo, Monguno and Jere Local Government Areas of Borno State (NE), Aug-Oct 16.

Polio is a viral infection which can sometimes cause long term paralysis. It is usually spread by contaminated food and water in areas with poor sanitation. Polio has been successfully eliminated from many countries. Vaccination is part of the standard UK immunisation schedule and boosters are given in combination with tetanus and diphtheria.


7 locally acquired cases of Zika virus have been reported for this year, from Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen provinces, Apr-Oct 16.

Zika virus (ZIKV) is transmitted by daytime biting mosquitoes and is similar to dengue fever. Symptoms include rash, conjunctivitis, muscle or joint pain. Neurological complications have been reported. There is consensus that ZIKV infection during pregnancy may cause some birth defects such as microcephaly. There is a low risk of sexual transmission of the disease. Countries/territories/areas with active or past Zika transmission have now been classified into 4 risk categories: high, moderate, low and very low, based on the current and potential epidemiological situation. These categories ensure travel advice is appropriate and proportionate to the defined ZIKV transmission risk. See current national advice from Public Health England for more details, including that for pregnant travellers, who are advised to postpone non-essential travel to high risk countries and also regarding condom use for preventing sexual transmission of the disease.




Tags:Chickungunya, Dengue, Cholera, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Wild Polio Virus, Zika