MASTA Travel Health Alert- 3rd May 2017
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. 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.
175 cases of cholera have been reported in Quintana Roo (SE), Apr 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.
Health authorities have reported 4 cases (1 death) of visceral leishmaniasis in Neiva (C), Apr 17. Leishmaniasis in endemic in Colombia and is one of the countries with the highest transmission of the disease.
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.
The Ministry of Health has reported 200 cases (20 deaths) of leptospirosis, Jan-Apr 17. 752 cases (74 deaths) were during 2016.
Leptospirosis is transmitted by contact with the urine of infected animals usually in water. Outbreaks often occur after natural disasters and flooding. About 10% of those infected progress onto a severe form known as Weil’s disease which can involve multiple organs. Avoid swimming or wading in potentially contaminated fresh water. It is treated with antibiotics.
Democratic Republic of Congo
DRC is one of the countries highlighted by the WHO as having a particular problem with measles. Over 14,000 cases have been reported from Maniema (C), South Kivu (E), Tanganyika (E), Ituri (NE) and Equateur (NW) regions, Nov 16-Apr 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 outbreak of meningitis continues, with over 10,600 suspected cases (919 deaths) reported, Jan-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.
Health officials have recorded 20 confirmed cases (9 deaths) of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in Chihuahua, Jan-Apr 17. 55 cases (17 deaths) were recorded in 2016.
Health officials have reported 2 deaths from Rocky Mountain spotted fever in Cocle province (C) and Panama City area, Apr 17.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a serious rickettsial disease spread by infected ticks and reported in the Americas. It causes fever, headaches, rash, muscle pain and may be fatal if not treated with antibiotics promptly. Take steps to avoid tick bites.
Over 1,400 confirmed and suspected cases of yellow fever (234 confirmed deaths) have been reported from the states of Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, Para, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Tocantins, Jan-Apr 17. Local vaccination campaigns have begun. The transmission area where vaccination is recommended has been extended.
There have been 14 confirmed and probable cases (2 deaths) of yellow fever, Jan-Apr 17. The cases were from the departments of Junin (C), Ayacucho (C), Cusco (S), San Martin (C), Amazonas (N), Loreto (N), Madre de Dios (E) and Pasco (C). 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.