MASTA Travel Health Alert- 26th April 2017
Health officials have reported 11 suspected cases of anthrax (1 death) in Matabeleland North (W), Apr 17. Contaminated hippo meat is thought to be the source of the infections.
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.
Outbreaks of chikungunya have been reported from several areas in Sindh province, with over 1,400 suspected cases in Karachi (S), Dec 16-Apr 17. Media sources have reported over 470 suspected cases in Gwadar district in Balochistan (SW), Jan-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.
2 confirmed cases of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever have been reported in Balochistan (SW), Apr 17. 90 cases were reported, Jan-Sept 16. The risk is thought to be highest in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh.
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.
Media sources have reported 3 cases (1 death) of suspected diphtheria in Kerala (S), Apr 17.
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection affecting the respiratory tract usually spread through respiratory droplets such as coughing. The risk is increased risk in conditions of overcrowding and poor hygiene. It can cause serious throat symptoms and also affect the skin. Vaccination is part of the standard UK immunisation schedule and boosters are given in combination with tetanus and polio.
Democratic Republic of Congo
9,160 cases (315 deaths) of cholera have been reported, Jan-Apr 17. Provinces in the Congo River basin are most affected. Over 29,000 cases (817 deaths) were reported Jan-Oct 16.
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.
1 confirmed death from Japanese encephalitis has been reported, Apr 17. It is thought that the virus was contracted in Bihar (NE). 2 confirmed cases were reported in Pune (W), Dec 16. At least 119 deaths from encephalitis were reported in Odisha, Oct-Nov 16. About 1/3 have been confirmed as Japanese encephalitis whilst the rest are acute encephalitis syndrome (AES). A study has shown many cases of AES in Bihar (NE) to be linked to excessive lychee consumption. The majority of reported cases countrywide are from Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Jharkand and Tamil Nadu.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection affecting the nervous system spread by mosquitoes. There is no treatment and around a third of those who develop encephalitis will die. It is found in parts of Asia, particularly in rural areas where there are rice fields and pig farms. The risk is highest during the rainy season. Vaccination should be considered for long stay or rural travellers.
Ethiopia is one of the countries highlighted by the WHO as having a particular problem with measles. Health authorities have reported 1,100 suspected cases, Apr 17.
Health officials have reported over 1,600 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.
Nearly 4,800 cases (21 deaths) of measles have been recorded, Jan 16-Feb 17. West Region is most affected.
Measles cases are frequently reported in Somalia. Relief agencies have reported 5,700 cases nationwide, Jan-Apr 17. A vaccination campaign has started in southern and central regions. 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.
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.
The WHO has reported over 1,700 cases (115 deaths) of meningitis, Jan-Apr 17. 1,540 cases (114 deaths) were reported, Jan-Jul 16.
Over 8,000 suspected cases of meningitis (745 deaths) have been reported, Apr 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). This vaccination is mandatory for pilgrims travelling to Hajj or Umrah in Saudi Arabia.
Central African Republic
The WHO has reported 1 case of monkeypox in M'baiki prefecture (SE), Apr 17. 47 suspected cases have been reported in Ouango district (S), Jan-Mar 17. Cases were reported from Haute-Kotto prefecture (E), Basse-Kotto prefecture (S) and Mbomou (S) in 2016.
A case of monkeypox has been confirmed from Pujehun district (S), Apr 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.
A 5 month old baby from eastern Connecticut contracted Powassan virus (POW), Nov 16. Governmental agency reports that there have been 65 cases in the USA 2013-2015. Most cases have occurred in the Northeast and Great Lakes region.
Powassan virus (POW) is transmitted to humans by infected ticks. Signs and symptoms of infection can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures, and memory loss. Long-term neurologic problems may occur. There is no specific treatment, but people with severe POW virus illnesses often need to be hospitalized. Take steps to avoid tick bites.