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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- 22nd March 2017


An outbreak of anthrax has been reported in Odisha (E), Mar 17. Andhra Pradesh (E), Odisha (E) and Jharkhand (E) reported cases in 2016.


Media sources have reported 15 cases of suspected anthrax in north Luzon, Mar 17. The cases have been linked to consumption of infected buffalo meat.

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


Health authorities have reported 5 confirmed cases of brucellosis in Fresnillo (C), Mar 17. The outbreak has been linked to contaminated cheese.

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.


The number of cases of acute watery diarrhoea/cholera continues to increase with over 13,100 cases (302 deaths) reported in 12 regions, Jan-Mar 17. Bay (S), Bakol (S), Lower Shabelle (SE), Gedo (SW) and Galgadud (C) regions are most affected. A mass vaccination campaign is planned to prevent spread to other areas. Large outbreaks were recorded during 2016 with at least 15,600 cases (548 deaths).


Cholera is 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.


A confirmed case of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever has been reported in Punjab (N), Mar 17. It is unclear if the case originated in Balochistan (W). 90 cases were reported, with most from Balochistan and Karachi, Jan-Sept 16. Cases have been also been recorded in Punjab (N), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Islamabad, Sindh and Jammu/Kashmir.

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.

American Samoa

30 suspected and 14 confirmed cases of dengue fever have been reported, Mar 17. The government has declared a public health emergency.

New Caledonia

There has been an increase of dengue fever with over 1,100 cases (3 deaths) reported, Mar 17. Noumea (S) is most affected.

Sri Lanka

Dengue fever is a continuing problem with 21,000 suspected cases (24 deaths) reported, Mar 17. Colombo (W), Gampaha (W) and Galle (SW), Jaffna (N), Trincomalee (NE) and Kurunegala (C) districts are most affected. Nearly 50,000 cases (77 deaths) were recorded during 2016.

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.


247 cases of Lassa fever (37 confirmed deaths) have been reported from 13 states, Dec 16-Mar 17. 921 suspected cases (119 deaths) were reported from 29 states during 2016.

Lassa fever is a viral infection which occurs in West Africa. It is primarily transmitted by contact with infected rodent excreta but can also occur following direct contact with the blood or secretions of infected individuals. It is especially dangerous if contracted during pregnancy. The risk is low but it would be wise to avoid rodent infested areas.


Health authorities have reported over 6,500 cases (22 deaths) of malaria in northern regions, Mar 17. Ohangwena, Kavango East, Kavango West and Zambezi have reported the most cases.

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease common in many tropical countries. It is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes which bite between dusk and dawn. Symptoms can vary and include fever and a flu-like illness. More serious forms can be fatal and progress to organ failure and coma within 24 hours of symptoms first appearing.


Health officials have reported 700 cases of measles, with the majority of cases in Piedmont (N), Lazio (C), Lombardy (N) and Tuscany (C), Mar 17. 844 cases were reported in 2016.


The UN has reported 121 cases of measles in Damascus governate, Mar 17.

Measles is a viral infection which causes a red blotchy rash and occasionally more serious disease. 2 doses of the MMR vaccine are recommended to provide protection against the disease. The travel consultation is good opportunity to ensure that all travellers are in-date with their primary vaccinations.

Republic of Congo

Health authorities have reported 20 cases (3 deaths) from monkeypox in northern Congo, Mar 17.

Monkeypox is a viral infection which causes a rash similar to chickenpox. It only occurs in rural areas in central/west Africa. Monkeypox can affect all ages but is most common in children. Infection is transmitted by direct contact with primates, squirrels or other infected humans.


Pakistan is one of the few countries still reporting polio cases. 2 cases of wild polio virus have been reported, Jan-Mar 17. The most recent case is from Gilgit Baltistan (N) where no new cases have been reported for several years. 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.

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 first 2 locally acquired cases of tick-borne encephalitis have been reported from Sallandse Heuvelrug and Utrecht areas, Mar 17. Both cases occurred in 2016. It is not clear whether the vaccine available in the UK will protect against this strain.

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.


Over 1,550 confirmed and suspected cases of yellow fever (137 confirmed deaths) have been reported from the states of Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, São Paulo, Bahia, Tocantins, Goias and Rio Grande do Norte, Jan-Mar 17. Local vaccination campaigns have begun. The transmission area where vaccination is recommended has been extended.


The WHO has reported a confirmed case of yellow fever from Sucumbíos (NE), Mar 17. The last confirmed case was in 2012.


There have been 7 confirmed and probable cases (2 deaths) of yellow fever, Mar 17. The cases were from Ayacucho (C), Amazonas (N), Pasco (C) and San Martin (C) departments. The WHO reported 80 cases (26 deaths) during 2016 with Junin province (central) most affected. This was the highest number of cases for 9 years.

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.


Media sources have reported more than 3,300 cases of food poisoning in children in Sohag province (C), Mar 17. The outbreak has been linked to contaminated school lunches.


Tags:Anthrax, Brucellosis, Diarrhoea, Cholera, Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever, Dengue Fever, Lassa Fever, Malaria, Measles, Monkeypox, Polio, Tick-borne Encephalitis, yellow fever, Food Poisoning