MASTA Travel Health Alert- 15th February 2017
There have been an increased number of cases of conjunctivitis reported from Northern Vietnam, particularly Hanoi, Feb 17. This is unseasonal, as outbreaks most commonly occur in Aug-Oct.
Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and causes red, sore, inflamed eyes and may be accompanied by a discharge. Wash hands frequently, avoid rubbing eyes and sharing towels.
6 cases (2 deaths) of diphtheria in children have been reported, Jan-Feb 17. The latest 2 cases have been reported from Anzoategui State (NE).
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection affecting the respiratory tract usually spread through respiratory droplets such as coughing. The risk is increased risk in conditions of overcrowding and poor hygiene. It can cause serious throat symptoms and also affect the skin. Vaccination is part of the standard UK immunisation schedule and boosters are given in combination with tetanus and polio.
8 cases of melioidosis (2 deaths) have been reported in the Northern Territory, Oct 16-Feb 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.
Afghanistan is one of the few countries still reporting polio cases. 1 case has been reported from Kandahar, Jan 17. 13 cases were reported from Paktika, Kabul, Kandahar, Kunar & Helmand Provinces in 2016. May 2014: International Health Regulations have come into force requiring certification of polio vaccination within the 12 months prior to departing Afghanistan for residents and travellers staying >4wks.
Pakistan is one of the few countries still reporting polio cases. 20 cases of wild polio virus and 1 case of circulating vaccine-derived polio (cVDPV) were reported from Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces and Federal Tribal Area, during 2016. May 2014: International Health Regulations have come into force requiring certification of polio vaccination within the 12 months prior to departing Pakistan for residents and travellers staying >4wks.
Polio is a viral infection which can sometimes cause long term paralysis. It is usually spread by contaminated food and water in areas with poor sanitation. Polio has been successfully eliminated from many countries. Vaccination is part of the standard UK immunisation schedule and boosters are given in combination with tetanus and diphtheria.
The state of Victoria is experiencing the worst outbreak of Ross River virus for several years, with over 650 cases reported in Jan 17. Over 1,400 cases were reported from Queensland, Jan-Apr 16. Cases are reported annually, mainly from Queensland, as well as NSW and Western Australia.
Ross River fever is a viral disease spread by mosquitoes and occurs in Australia and some of the South Pacific Islands. It causes flu-like symptoms with painful joints and rashes. Take steps to avoid mosquito bites.