MASTA Travel Health Alert- 14th September 2016
Health authorities report over 70 cases (12 deaths) from Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, Aug 15-Aug 16.
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is an unpleasant viral disease which is fatal in 20-35% of cases. It is usually transmitted by infected tick bites or direct contact with the blood of infected individuals. Take steps to avoid tick bites by covering exposed skin and using an effective repellent.
The Saudi Ministry of Health continue to report additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Sept 16. 1,451 cases (610 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.
16 cases of West Nile fever have been reported in this transmission season from 10 counties, Sep 16. 18 cases were reported in 2015.
29 cases of West Nile fever have been reported in this transmission season from 10 Northern provinces, Sept 16. 59 cases were reported in 2015 from 11 Northern provinces.
58 cases of West Nile fever have been reported from 16 counties, to Sept 16. This is a marked increase in numbers for this transmission season as only 19 cases were reported from 8 counties in 2015.
79 cases of West Nile virus have been reported in this transmission season, from 7 oblasts, with Saratovskaya oblast (S) reporting the most, Sept 16. 39 cases were reported from SW regions in 2015.
20 cases of West Nile fever have been reported in this transmission season, to Sep 16. 28 cases were reported in 2015.
662 cases (18 deaths) of West Nile fever have been recorded, to Sep 16. Most affected states so far have been Texas, California. Colorado, Arizona and South Dakota. 2,060 cases (119 deaths) were reported during 2015.
West Nile fever is a viral infection spread by the bite of mosquitoes. It usually causes flu-like symptoms, but can rarely cause fatal brain infection. The elderly are at higher risk of complications. There is no specific treatment.
Health authorities report the current outbreak of yellow fever is declining, with no new confirmed cases since 23 Jun 16. At least 4,000 suspected cases (372 deaths) have been reported, Dec 15-Sep 16. All 18 provinces have reported cases but Luanda (N) and Huambo (C) were most affected. Vaccine campaigns have taken place in affected parts of the country. Yellow fever is endemic in Angola, but this is the first outbreak in 28 years.
Democratic Republic of Congo
An outbreak of yellow fever was declared in the country, with over 2,600 suspected cases reported, Jan-Sept 16. There have been no confirmed cases related to this current outbreak since 12 Jul 16. Cases have been reported from provinces including Kinshasa and the Kongo-Central (W) and local vaccination campaigns have taken place. Many cases were imported from Angola where a large outbreak was reported.
Uganda declared the end of the yellow fever outbreak on 6 Sept 16. Health authorities reported 68 suspected cases (7 deaths), from several districts including Masaka and Kalangala (Central Region) and Rukungiri (Western Region), May 16. A local vaccination campaign was undertaken in Jun 16. This outbreak was not related to the outbreak in Angola and DRC.
Yellow fever is a viral disease, found in tropical regions of Africa and the Americas. It principally affects humans and monkeys, and is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. The risk is highest in rural areas. 15-25% of those infected will develop severe disease with organ failure, jaundice and bleeding. An effective vaccine is available but may not be suitable for everyone. International regulations are in place to prevent the spread of the disease and as such the vaccine must be administered in a registered ‘Yellow Fever Centre’ and a certificate of vaccination issued.
Since Zika virus was first reported in the Department of Bolivar in Oct 15, it has spread to the rest of the country. Nearly 94,000 suspected (8,800 confirmed) cases have been reported, to Sep 16.
Since the first reported case in the country over 1,700 suspected cases of Zika virus have now been reported, Jan-Aug 16.
Cases of Zika virus have been reported from the provinces of Chiang Mai, Chanthaburi, Phetchabun, and Bung Kan, Jun-Aug 16. Cases have now been reported from the Sathon district of Bangkok, Sep 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
The World Health Organisation declared Sri Lanka to be malaria free on 5 Sep 2016. This announcement comes after no locally transmitted cases had been declared in the last three and a half years. Antimalarial chemoprophylaxis had not been recommended for some time, only bite avoidance measures.