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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- 29th March 2017

Malawi

Media sources have reported 11 cases of suspected cholera in Nsanje district (S), Mar 17. Outbreaks were reported in the districts of Karonga and Rumphi (N region) and around Lake Chilwa in the Machinga and Zomba districts (S Region) during 2016.

Mozambique

More than 1,200 cases of cholera have been reported from Maputo (S) and another 3 provinces, Mar 17.

Nigeria

Health officials have reported more than 500 cases (80 deaths) of cholera in Zamfara State (NW), Mar 17.

Somalia

The number of cases of acute watery diarrhoea/cholera continues to increase with over 17,200 cases (388 deaths) reported in 12 regions, Jan-Mar 17. Bay (S), Bakol (S), Lower Shabelle (SE), Gedo (SW), Hiraan (C), Banadir (C) and Lower Juba (S) 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).

Sudan

Media sources have reported 8 cases (1 death) of cholera in Al Gedaref (E), Mar 17.

Zambia

Authorities have reported 70 cases of cholera in Chiengi and Mpulungu districts (N), Mar 17. Over 1,170 suspected cases (31 deaths) were reported Feb-May 16.

Zimbabwe

2 deaths of suspected cholera have been reported from Manicaland province (SE), Mar 17.

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.

Oman

Health authorities have reported 6 cases (3 deaths) of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever nationally, Mar 17. 7 cases were reported in 2016.

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.

USA

107 confirmed cases of hepatitis A have been reported from southeast Michigan, Mar 17. No common source of infection has been found. 134 cases were reported from 9 states, with Virginia reporting 107 of these, Aug-Oct 16.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection which affects the liver and occasionally causes severe disease. It is usually spread by contaminated food and water. Symptoms include fever, digestive disturbance and jaundice. Effective hepatitis A vaccines are available and can be given on their own or in combination with hepatitis B or typhoid.

Nigeria

283 suspected cases of Lassa fever (56 deaths) have been reported from 13 states, Dec 16-Mar 17. 921 suspected cases (119 deaths) were reported from 29 states during 2016.

Sierra Leone

24 cases (4 deaths) of suspected Lassa fever have been reported, Mar 17.

Togo

12 suspected cases (4 deaths) of Lassa fever were reported from Oti and Kpendjal districts (N), Mar 17. These cases have been linked to outbreaks in Benin. Sporadic cases are reported in Togo.

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.

Japan

Media sources have reported 40 confirmed cases (1 death) of legionellosis which have been linked to bathing in a hot spring in Mihara, Hiroshima Prefecture, Mar 17.

Legionnaires’ disease is a bacterial infection which can cause a life-threatening pneumonia. Outbreaks are often associated with communal water facilities such spas, showers and cooling towers.

Egypt

A confirmed case of visceral leishmaniasis has been reported in Cairo, Mar 17. Other suspected cases have not been officially reported.

Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease spread by infected sand flies that bite between dusk and dawn. The disease occurs in three forms of varying severity affecting the skin and/or internal organs. Treatment can be prolonged with skin ulcers taking a long time to heal. Travellers should avoid sand fly bites by using effective repellents and sleeping under insecticide treated bed nets.

Burkina Faso

The WHO have reported 670 cases of meningitis (52 deaths), Mar 17. 2,133 cases (226 deaths) were reported, Jan-Jul 16.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The WHO has reported 1,388 cases (129 deaths) of meningitis, Mar 17. 3,359 cases (322 deaths) were reported Jan-Jul 16.

Nigeria

The WHO has reported over 1,400 suspected cases of meningitis (211 deaths), Mar 17. Zamfara State (NW), Katsina State (N) and Sokoto (NW) report the largest number of cases. 515 cases (27 deaths) were reported, Jan-Jul 16.

Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial infection affecting the brain usually spread by respiratory droplets (coughing/sneezing). Highest infection rates usually occur during the dry season in the ‘meningitis belt’ of sub-Saharan Africa. The risk is highest for long-stay travellers and those mixing closely with the local population. There are a number of different strains of meningococcal meningitis and the vaccine used for traveller purposes contains 4 of these (A, C, W135 and Y). This vaccination is mandatory for pilgrims travelling to Hajj or Umrah in Saudi Arabia.

Canada

Media sources have reported over 300 cases of norovirus which have been linked to the consumption of raw oysters from British Columbia, Mar 17.

Outbreaks of gastroenteritis, caused by the norovirus, occur occasionally in hotels and cruise ships around the world. It commonly causes vomiting and sometimes diarrhoea. The virus is highly infectious and can be transmitted in contaminated food or via contact with the vomit of an infected individual e.g. air-borne particles or on inanimate objects such as door handles. Maintain good personal hygiene such as hand washing.

Brazil

580 cases of sporotrichosis were recorded in Rio de Janeiro during 2016. It is thought that the disease is being transmitted by cats as a large increase in feline cases has been reported.

Sporotrichosis is caused by contact with fungal spores from soil and plant matter. The cutaneous (skin) infection is the most common form of the disease and can be treated with antifungal medication.

Australia

A case of tetanus has been reported in an unvaccinated child in Lismore, New South Wales, Mar 17.

Tetanus is a serious bacterial infection, usually contracted following contamination of wounds. It is present worldwide. Infection can be fatal and symptoms include lockjaw, difficulty swallowing and muscle spasms. Vaccination is part of the standard UK immunisation schedule and boosters are given in combination with polio and diphtheria.

Brazil

Over 1,560 confirmed and suspected cases of yellow fever (144 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.

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.

Peru

A State of Emergency has been declared in 11 departments following heavy flooding, Mar 17. Piura, Lambayeque, La Libertad in the northwest and Lima Metropolitana are worst affected and access to clean water is limited.

Tags:Cholera, Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever, hepatitis a, Lassa Fever