MASTA Travel Health Alert- 17th August 2016
Health authorities report over 300 cases of brucellosis Jan-Aug 16. Over 290 cases were reported for the same period in 2015. Most cases are found in the Beer Sheva district(C), in where the majority of Israel's camel population is located.
Brucellosis is a bacterial infection which usually affects people working with infected animals. It occurs in 3 forms: acute, relapsing and chronic and causes fevers, joint problems, heart and neurological complications. Avoid unpasteurised milk and cheese and ensure meat products are well cooked.
Central African Republic
An outbreak of cholera with 66 cases, (at least 16 deaths) has been declared, in the remote area of Djoukou, Kemo prefecture (S), Aug 16. This is the first outbreak in the country since 2011.
Cholerais 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.
193 cases of cyclosporiasis have been reported from travellers returning to the UK, many of which have stayed in the Riviera Maya area of Quintana Roo, Yucatan peninsula, Jul-Aug 16. Cases haves stayed at 24 different hotels, mostly on an 'all inclusive' basis. It is thought the source is likely to be food products. A similar outbreak was investigated in Jun-Aug 15 by Public Health England. Returning travellers should seek medical advice if symptomatic.
Cyclosporiasis is caused by the intestinal parasite cyclospora, which is transmitted when contaminated food, often salad products or water is ingested. It causes diarrhoea, fever and stomach cramps.
Dengue fever is a continuing problem, over 2,300 cases (9 deaths) have been reported Jan-Jul 16. Most cases are reported from Champasak province (SW). Over 1,900 cases were reported in 2015.
Dengue fever is a continuing problem. Over 48,700 cases (14 deaths) have been reported from 48 of 63 provinces, Jan-Jul 16. Many cases are reported from Ho Chi Minh City. Overall figures are much higher for this reporting period than 2015. 97,476 cases (61 deaths) were reported from 54 of 63 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.
Over 1,300,000 cases (122 deaths) of hand, foot and mouth disease have been reported, Jan-Jun 16. This follows the previous seasonal pattern. Over 2,000,000 cases (124 deaths) were reported in 2015.
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.
Health authorities report that since Tropical Cyclone Winston hit the island in Feb 16, causing much flooding, there have been over 430 cases of leptospirosis, Aug 16.
Leptospirosis is transmitted by contact with the urine of infected animals usually in water. Outbreaks often occur after natural disasters and flooding. About 10% of those infected progress onto a severe form known as Weil’s disease which can involve multiple organs. Avoid swimming or wading in potentially contaminated fresh water. It is treated with antibiotics.
Media sources have reported 96 cases (2 deaths) of scrub typhus from Himachal Pradesh, Aug 16. Cases were also reported from Rajasthan, May 16. 420 cases were reported from Kerala state (SW), with most from its capital Thiruvananthapuram, Jul 15.
Outbreaks of scrub typhus have been reported from Dharan, and Chitwan, Apr-Jul 16. Outbreaks were reported from various districts including Kathmandu, Nawalparasi (C) and Dhading (E), affecting at least 76 people, Oct-Nov 15.
Scrub typhus is an illness caused by a Rickettsia bacteria that is spread by mites on rodents. Symptoms vary but often include headache, fever and rashes. Travellers should minimize exposure by avoiding rodents and using insect repellents.
The first confirmed cases of Zika virus have been reported, 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. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/zika-virus-zikv-clinical-and-travel-guidance