MASTA Travel Health Alert- 17th May 2017
Media sources have reported 6 cases of anthrax linked to an abattoir in Kiambu (S), May 17. At least 70 cases were reported in a village in Nakura County (SW) and 16 cases in Murang'a (C) in 2016.
Anthrax is a bacterial infection which can affect the skin, lungs and gastro-intestinal tract. It is generally transmitted via infected livestock. Travellers should ensure that all meat is well cooked and from a safe source.
Media sources have reported an outbreak of chikungunya in Dhaka, May 17.
Outbreaks of chikungunya have been reported from several areas in Sindh province, with over 2,400 suspected cases in Karachi (S), Dec 16-May 17. Health authorities have also reported over 1,900 suspected cases in Balochistan (SW), Jan-Apr 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.
Health authorities in Senegal have reported 2 cases of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever in travellers from Mauritania, May 17.
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.
There has been an increase in cases of dengue fever, with over 3,400 cases, Sep 16-May 17. Noumea (S) is most affected.
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.
There have been 47 confirmed cases (5 deaths) of Coccidioidomycosis in San Luis Obispo County, California, Jan-Apr 17. 220 confirmed cases (5 deaths) were reported in 2016.
Coccidioidomycosis (also called Valley fever) is caused by breathing in spores of the fungus Coccidioides. It occurs in hot, semi-arid areas of USA, northern Mexico, Central and South America.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Health authorities have reported 19 suspected cases (3 deaths) of Ebola virus disease in Bas Uele Province (N), Apr-May 17.
Ebola is a serious viral infection which is often fatal causing excess bleeding and organ failure. It is spread by direct contact with infected blood or bodily fluids of infected people or animals. Outbreaks have been linked to contact with infected bush meat or fruit bat saliva.
The outbreak of meningitis continues, with over 13,400 suspected cases reported (1,069 deaths) in 23 states, Nov 16-May 17. Zamfara State (NW), Sokoto State (NW) and Katsina State (N) report the largest number of cases. Neisseria meningitides serotype C accounts for 68% of confirmed 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).
23 cases of acute flaccid paralysis have been reported in Deir al Zour Governate, May 17. It is suspected that these cases have been caused by circulation of vaccine derived poliovirus among the inadequately vaccinated population.
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. Vaccination is part of the standard UK immunisation schedule and boosters are given in combination with tetanus and diphtheria.