MASTA Travel Health Alert- 5th April 2017
Over 8,000 suspected cases (1 death) of chikungunya virus have been reported, Feb 17. Almost 260,000 confirmed cases were reported during 2016.
An outbreak of over 10 confirmed cases of chikungunya virus has been reported, Dec 16-Mar 17. Chikungunya was first reported from Kathmandu and Dhading (C) districts in 2013.
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 with over 29,000 suspected cases reported, Mar 17. Colombo (W), Gampaha (W) and Galle (SW), Jaffna (N), Trincomalee (NE) and Kalutara (SW) districts are most affected. Nearly 50,000 cases (77 deaths) were recorded during 2016.
Dengue fever is a continuing problem, reporting over 6,300 probable cases (4 deaths), Mar 17. Regions most affected: Piura (NW), Loreto (W), Ica (W), Ucayali (E). Over 31,800 probable cases (41 deaths) were reported 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.
48 cases (4 deaths) of Kyasanur Forest disease have been reported in Shimoga district, Karnataka (SW), Jan-Mar 17. At least 277 cases (3 deaths) were reported from Maharashtra (W), Karnataka, Goa (W) and Kerala (S) during 2016.
Kyasanur Forest Disease is an unpleasant viral disease transmitted by tick bites or direct contact with infected animals such as monkeys. It can cause fever and encephalitis. Take steps to avoid tick bites. A local vaccine is sometimes used in affected areas.
Health officials have reported over 1,000 cases of measles, with the majority of cases in Piedmont (N), Lazio (C), Lombardy (N) Tuscany (C) and Abruzzo (E), Jan-Apr 17. 844 cases were reported in 2016.
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.
Over 2,500 suspected cases of meningitis (328 deaths) have been reported from 16 states, 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.
Afghanistan is one of the few countries still reporting polio cases. 3 cases have been reported, the most recent from Kandahar (SE) and Kunduz (N) provinces, Jan-Mar 17. 13 cases were reported from Paktika, Kabul, Kandahar, Kunar & Helmand Provinces in 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.
Over 1,987 confirmed and suspected cases of yellow fever (187 confirmed deaths) have been reported from the states of Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, Para, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Jan-Apr 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.