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MASTA Travel Health Alert- 31st August 2016


At least 360 cases (78 deaths) of Japanese encephalitis have been reported in Assam (NE) and 600 cases (150 deaths) in Uttar Pradesh (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.


Over 170 cases (19 deaths) of Japanese encephalitis have been reported, Jan-Aug 16. Most affected areas are Rakhine and northern Shan states. A vaccination campaign is planned, Aug 16.

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 report a sharp annual increase in the number of cases of Lyme disease, with over 8,400 cases reported to Aug 16. Milder temperatures in early 2016 are thought to have attributed to increased tick activity. 5,300 cases were reported in 2015.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by ticks, primarily in the forests of the northern hemisphere. A ‘bullseye’ rash typically develops around the bite site. Other symptoms can include joint/muscle pain, heart problems and neurological issues. Lyme disease is usually treated with antibiotics. Travellers should take steps to avoid tick bites with insect repellents and protective clothing. Any ticks found on the skin should be removed promptly and carefully with tweezers.


There have been 119 reported cases of Tick-borne encephalitis for this year, to Aug   16. Between 40 -170 cases are reported annually.

Tick-borne encephalitis is a viral disease spread by the bite of infected ticks and less commonly through the consumption of unpasteurised dairy products. Symptoms include flu-like illness and neurological problems. It occurs across many parts of Europe and Asia. Ticks are found in forest clearings, long grass and hedgerows and are most active in the spring and summer months. Travellers to rural areas (e.g. hikers, campers, agricultural/forestry workers) should consider vaccination


The first 2 cases of West Nile fever for this transmission season have been reported, Aug 16.


29 cases of West Nile fever for this transmission season have been reported from 5 districts including Haifa, Central and Tel Aviv districts, Aug 16. 123 cases were reported in 2015.


15 cases of West Nile fever have been reported for this transmission season from 7 Northern provinces, Aug 16. 59 cases were reported for the 2015 transmission season from 11 Northern provinces.


26 cases of West Nile fever have been reported for this transmission season from 5 counties, to Aug 16. 19 cases were reported from 8 counties in 2015.


301 cases of West Nile fever have been recorded, to Aug 16. Most affected states so far have been Texas, 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.

British Virgin Islands

The first cases of Zika virus have been reported on the islands, Aug 16.


The first confirmed cases of Zika virus have been reported, Aug 16.


Cases of Zika virus infection, locally acquired via mosquito bites have been reported from Florida State (S). Most affected is Wynwood district in Miami-Dade County, sporadic cases have been reported from Pinella, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Aug 16.

Public Health England have assessed the Zika Virus risk level for Florida, as moderate risk, with some areas high risk, 26 Aug 2016. Further details are to be found as follows:

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:Zika, Japanese Encephalitis, Tick-borne Encephalitis, West Nile Fever