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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- 8th March 2017


Health officials have reported 50 confirmed cases of chikungunya in Kedah (N) and Selangor, Mar 17.

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.


Media sources have reported 75 suspected cases of cholera in Dauis town, Bohol and more than 100 confirmed cases on Carnaza Island, Cebu, Mar 17. 28 deaths have been reported in an outbreak of suspected cholera in Davao del Norte (S), Feb 17.                                           


Over 7,700 cases (183 deaths) of acute watery diarrhoea/cholera have been reported, Jan-Mar 17. Bay (S), Banadir (S), Bakol (S) and Nugaal (N) 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.


Dengue fever is a continuing problem with over 5,600 suspected cases (16 deaths) reported, Feb 17. Over 103,800 probable cases (199 deaths) were reported during 2016.


155 cases of dengue fever have been reported, Mar 17. Most affected areas are Central and Western Divisions.


Dengue fever is a continuing problem in Malaysia. Over 14,500 cases have been reported, Mar 17. Selangor (SW), Perak (W), Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya are most affected. Over 101,000 cases (237 deaths) were reported during 2016.


Over 3,400 suspected cases of dengue fever have been reported, Feb 17. Over 130,000 probable cases (34 deaths) were reported during 2016. States most affected: Guerrero, Chiapas, Veracruz and Michoacán.

Sri Lanka

Health authorities have reported over 19,400 cases of dengue fever, Mar 17. Colombo (W), Gampaha (W) and Galle (SW) are most affected. Nearly 50,000 cases (78 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.


Health authorities have reported 5,252 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease, Mar 17. Over 48,800 cases were reported from all provinces during 2016.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a viral infection which affects mainly young children and causes fever, mouth ulcers and blisters on hands and feet. It is transmitted by person to person contact. The majority of cases are mild but serious complications are occasionally reported.


Health authorities have reported 61 cases (2 deaths) of Lassa fever in the north of the country, Mar 17. An outbreak of 54 suspected cases (28 deaths) was reported in 2016. Lassa fever is endemic in many areas of West Africa, including Benin.

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.


More than 70 cases of measles have been reported, affecting both adults and children, Feb 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.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The WHO has reported 799 cases (68 deaths) of meningitis, Jan 17. 3,359 cases (322 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.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Ministry of Health continue to report additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Feb 17. 1,567 cases (649 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 evidence that camels/bats 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 states of New South Wales and Victoria are experiencing the worst outbreak of Ross River virus for several years. Victoria has reported over 650 cases in Jan 17. New South Wales has reported 430 cases and Western Australia has reported over 200 cases, Mar 17. Over 3,500 cases were reported from all states in 2016.

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.


A death from yellow fever has been reported from La Mar province (C), Mar 17. 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.

Sao Tome and Principe

Media sources have reported over 2,000 cases (4 deaths) from an undiagnosed disease, Oct 16-Feb 17. Symptoms include itching body, swollen legs and skin discolouration.







Tags:Chikungunya, Cholera, Diarrhoea, Dengue, Hand foot and mouth, Lassa Fever