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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- 12th January 2017


17 cases of anthrax have been reported in Western Province, Jan 17. The outbreak is thought to be linked to the consumption of infected beef. 58 cases were previously reported from Chama district, Muchinga Province (NE), Oct 16.

Anthrax is a bacterial infection which can affect the skin, lungs and gastro-intestinal tract. It is generally transmitted via infected livestock. Travellers should ensure that all meat is well cooked and from a safe source.


A traveller from Luanda to Japan tested positive for Chikungunya virus in May 16. This was reported by the Angolan Ministry of Health, Dec 16.


929 suspected cases of chikungunya were reported in 2016.


58 suspected cases of chikungunya have been reported during 2016.


Over 263,500 suspected cases of chikungunya have been reported during 2016.

Costa Rica

Over 3,300 suspected cases of chikungunya have been reported during 2016. Pacific coastal provinces of Puntarenas and Guanacaste are the most affected.


757 confirmed cases of chikungunya were reported in 2016.

Puerto Rico

177 confirmed cases of chikungunya were reported in 2016.

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.


Dengue fever is a continuing problem, over 5,300 cases (10 deaths) have been reported Jan-Dec 16. Many cases are reported from Champasak province (SW).


Dengue fever is a continuing problem in Malaysia. Over 101,000 cases (237 deaths) have been reported during 2016. Selangor (SW) has reported at least 40,000 of these cases. Johor (S), Perak (W), and Kuala Lumpur (E) are also affected.


Over 4,000 suspected cases of dengue fever have been reported by the Ministry of Health, Nov 16-Jan 17.

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.


3 cases of Hantavirus have been reported from Buenos Aires Province, Jan 17. 2 deaths were reported from the same area, May 16. Cases are reported annually from various provinces.

Hantavirus is a viral disease which is primarily transmitted by contact with infected rodent excreta. The infection usually affects the lungs and kidneys. The risk is low but it would be wise to avoid rodent infested areas.                                                                                                   


320 suspected cases of hepatitis E have been reported in Salamat region (SE), Dec 16.

Hepatitis E infection affects the liver and is usually transmitted through contaminated food and water in areas with poor sanitation. Symptoms include fever, fatigue and jaundice. It is especially dangerous in the latter stages of pregnancy when fatality rates can reach 20%. There is currently no vaccine.

Dominican Republic

The Ministry of Health has reported 752 cases (74 deaths) of leptospirosis, during 2016. Cases have increased following Hurricane Matthew and continuous rains since Oct.

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.


17 cases of melioidosis (1 death) have been reported in the Northern Territory, Oct 16-Jan 17.

Melioidosis is a potentially life-threatening bacterial illness transmitted by contact with contaminated soil and water, usually via skin cuts/abrasions. It tends to be most serious in people with long standing medical conditions.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Ministry of Health continue to report additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Jan 17. 1,533 cases (639 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.


The CDC have reported over 4,200 cases of mumps across 46 States during 2016, the highest level for many years. Arkansas has reported more than 1,750 cases. The Marshallese community (originally from the Marshall Islands) were especially affected. Outbreaks have also been reported at a number of US universities including Harvard (Boston), New York and the University of Missouri, Nov 16.

Mumps is a viral disease which causes painful swelling of the salivary glands. 2 doses of the MMR vaccine are recommended but protection against the disease sometimes wanes over time.


Media sources have reported the deaths of 2 children from rabies. 13 others are receiving post exposure treatment after being bitten by a dog in Kayin State (SE), Jan 17.


85 people are suspected to have been exposed to rabies after being bitten by bats in Cusco region (SE), Dec 16. One death has been reported. Frequent cases are reported in the Amazon.

Puerto Rico

A human death from rabies has been confirmed following a mongoose bite in Puerto Rico. This has been reported in Jan 17 but occurred in 2015 and is the first recorded transmission from a mongoose in the US or US territories.

Rabies is a viral infection spread by the saliva of infected animals. Human cases are usually due to dog bites but any mammals can be infected. Rabies is fatal once symptoms begin. Pre-exposure vaccinations are recommended for long-stay travellers; those remote from medical help (>24 hours) and animal handlers. All travellers must know how to treat a wound and seek prompt post-exposure vaccines if bitten/scratched.


Health officials have reported 2,200 cases (9 deaths) of typhoid, Oct 16-Jan 17. The majority of cases have been reported in Harare. Large outbreaks were reported earlier in 2016.

Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection usually spread by contaminated food and water. It can cause fever, headaches, digestive disturbances and less commonly, serious complications. Vaccination can be given alone or in combination with hepatitis A. An oral vaccine is also available but is not suitable for everyone.


Health authorities have reported 23 suspected cases of yellow fever (14 deaths) from the state of Minas Gerais (SE), Jan 17. 6 cases (1 ex Angola) were reported nationally in 2016.

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.


Health authorities have reported 2 locally acquired cases of Zika virus, Jan 17.

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:Anthrax, Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, Hantavirus, Hepatitis E, Leptospirosis, Melioidosis, MERS-CoV, Mumps, rabies, yellow fever, Zika