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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.

Travel Health Alert- 26th October 2016


The first locally acquired cases of chikungunya in the country were notified in Mar 16. Over 3,300 suspected cases have now been reported, Mar-Oct 16, most are from Salta Province (N), which is next to the border of Bolivia, where the virus has been present for a number of years.

Costa Rica

Over 2,800 suspected cases of chikungunya have been reported Jan-Oct 16. Pacific coastal provinces of Puntarenas and Guanacaste are the most affected. 4,912 confirmed cases were reported in 2015.

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.

Dominican Republic

Over 1,065 suspected cases (18 deaths) of cholera have been reported, Jan-Sep 16. Most of the cases have been reported in the National District, Pedernales, Santiago and Santo Domingo. 546 cases (16 deaths) were reported in 2015. Over 33,000 cases have been reported since the epidemic began in 2010.


Authorities report 27 cases of cholera in Kapiri Mposhi district (N), Sep 16. Over 1,170 suspected cases (31 deaths) were reported, Feb-May 16. The majority of these cases were in Lusaka city and originated in the city's slum area, in the first outbreak for 6 years. 7 other provinces also reported cases, the majority being linked to the Lusaka outbreak.

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.


134 cases of hepatitis A have been reported from 9 states, with Virginia reporting 107 of these, Aug-Oct 16. This outbreak is thought to be related to imported frozen strawberries from Egypt, which had been used to make smoothies.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection which affects the liver and occasionally causes severe disease. It is usually spread by contaminated food and water. Symptoms include fever, digestive disturbance and jaundice. Effective hepatitis A vaccines are available and can be given on their own or in combination with hepatitis B or typhoid.


At least 68 deaths from Japanese encephalitis have been reported in Odisha, Oct 16. 360 cases (78 deaths) were reported in Assam (NE), 600 cases (250 deaths) in Uttar Pradesh (N), and over 80 cases in Bihar (N), Aug 16. Over 1,600 cases of encephalitis were reported in Uttar Pradesh, 100 in West Bengal and 200 in Assam, during 2015. Some cases are confirmed as Japanese encephalitis whereas others are attributed to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES).

Japanese encephalitisis a viral infection affecting the nervous system spread by mosquitoes. There is no treatment and around a third of those who develop encephalitis will die. It is found in parts of Asia, particularly in rural areas where there are rice fields and pig farms. The risk is highest during the rainy season. Vaccination should be considered for long stay or rural travellers.


Health authorities reported the first confirmed cases of Zika virus in Brazil in May 15. Since then over 200,000 suspected cases have been recorded, Oct 16. Most affected states are Rio de Janeiro and Bahia (NE). Nationally over 2,000 confirmed cases of microcephaly (a birth defect causing babies to be born with small heads) have been reported.

Costa Rica

Since the first reported case in the country, over 2,300 suspected cases of Zika virus have now been reported, Jan-Oct 16.


Over 2,760 suspected cases of Zika virus have been reported, including cases in the Galapagos Islands, Jan-Oct 16.


Since it was first recorded in the country in 2015, over 31,500 suspected cases of Zika virus have been reported to Oct 16. Most affected departments: Cortés, Francisco Morazán, Yoro, and Choluteca.


Over 2,000 confirmed cases of Zika virus in the country have been reported, Jan-Oct 16.


Over 1,800 suspected cases of Zika virus have been reported to Oct 16. San Blas province, Ustupu and Ogobsugun Islands (SE) all report cases.

St Lucia

Since the first locally acquired cases of Zika virus were reported in Apr 16, over 820 suspected cases have been reported to Oct 16.


Since the first confirmed cases in the country in Aug 16, health authorities have reported 415 cases of Zika virus, to Oct 16.

Trinidad and Tobago

Since the first locally acquired case of Zika virus was reported in Feb 16, over 480 confirmed cases have been reported, Oct 16.


Over 58,500 suspected cases of Zika virus have been reported, to 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 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, Cholera, Zika, Japanese Encephalitis