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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- 1st December 2016


International aid agencies have reported around 9,000 cholera cases, Aug-Nov 16. The outbreak, which began in Dar es Salaam, has now spread to at least 12 other regions. Large outbreaks were reported earlier in the year at a refugee camp on the border with Burundi. Zanzibar also reported over 3,000 cases (51 deaths), and Pemba Island over 1,230 cases (13 deaths), to Apr 16.


Over 34,600 cholera cases (339 deaths) have been recorded in Haiti, Jan-Nov 16. A large increase in cases was noted following Hurricane Matthew in October. Currently the most affected departments are Grand Anse and Sud.


Outbreaks of cholera have been reported from 11 governates, including the capital Sana'a, Oct-Nov 16. Over 6,100 cases have been recorded with many in Taiz and Aden.

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.

Solomon Islands

Over 3,300 suspected cases of dengue fever from Guadalcanal (including Honiara), Malaita, Chiseul, Makira, Temotu, Isabel provinces, and Gizo City in Western province, Aug-Nov 16.

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.


Over 52,200 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease have been reported, Jan-Nov 16. 381,500 cases were reported in 2015.

Hong Kong

There have been 647 hospital admissions due to hand, foot and mouth disease, Jan-Nov 16.


Over 37,600 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease have been reported, Nov 16. Weekly case numbers have been decreasing in the seasonal trend since Jul 16.


Over 39,600 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease have been reported Jan-Nov 16, from all provinces. The southern region reports most cases.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a viral infection which affects mainly young children and causes fever, mouth ulcers and blisters on hands and feet. It is transmitted by person to person contact. The majority of cases are mild but serious complications are occasionally reported.

Marshall Islands

Health authorities have confirmed 13 cases of hepatitis A, Nov 16. Investigations into the source of infection is ongoing.

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 119 deaths from encephalitis have been reported in Odisha, Oct-Nov 16. About 1/3 have been confirmed as Japanese encephalitis whilst the rest as acute encephalitis syndrome (AES). The causes of AES are still under investigation but may be linked to toxins from the seeds of a wild plant called 'bada chakunda'. The majority of reported cases countrywide are from Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Jharkand and Tamil Nadu. India reported over 1,700 cases (290 deaths) of Japanese encephalitis and nearly 10,000 cases (1,200 deaths) of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in 2015.

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.


5 cases of Mayaro virus disease have been discovered by research scientists in people living in Amazonas state during 2016.

Mayaro virus disease (MVD) is an infection transmitted by mosquitoes in some forested areas of South America. Symptoms are similar to dengue fever with fever, headache, muscle/joint pain and rash.


An additional case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has been reported, Nov 16. 8 cases in total have been reported in the country, the majority of the global cases have occurred in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Ministry of Health continue to report additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Nov 16. 1,491 cases (618 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.


An outbreak of Rift Valley fever has been reported in various departments in Tahoua region (W), Aug-Nov 16. At least 266 suspected cases (32 deaths) have been recorded mostly in nomadic herders.

Rift Valley fever is a potentially fatal viral infection causing fever, headaches and liver problems. It is usually reported in southern and eastern Africa, often affecting domesticated animals such as cattle and sheep. Around 8-10% of people who contract the virus will have severe, potentially life threatening symptoms. It is transmitted by infected mosquitoes or by direct contact with blood, bodily fluids or milk of infected animals. Take steps to avoid mosquito bites.

Federated States of Micronesia

Health authorities report 179 cases of Zika virus from Kosrae State, May-Nov 16.


The first locally acquired case of Zika has been reported in Cameron County, Texas, Nov 16. 222 local cases have been reported from Florida State (S), some in pregnant women, Aug-Nov 16. Affected areas include: South Beach/Miami Beach area and Wynwood district in Miami-Dade County. Sporadic cases have been reported from Pinella, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Aug 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:Cholera, Dengue Fever, Hand foot and mouth, hepatitis a, Encephalitis, Mayaro Virus Disease, MERS-CoV, Rift Valley Fever, Zika