Ebola Crisis in West Africa – October 15th 2014

WORLD HEALTH ALERT 15/10/14. Ebola Update, Dengue Fever South China and Dengue Fever Taiwan.

Ebola – World-Wide

The World spins as the Ebola crisis appears to be out of control in West Africa.  Fears about the virus spreading to North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia pervade our thoughts.

This alert is being published to dispel some of the fears you might have, and to help you understand just how you can stay healthy and travel in safety, no matter where you go. To put things in perspective, perhaps it would be a good idea to review what has transpired since early this year:

– In March 2014, 50 suspected Ebola cases were found in Guinea, West Africa, which was called: An unidentified hemorrhagic fever

– Subsequently, and within a month afterwards, more cases were reported in Sierra Leone, and shortly afterwards, the virus had spread to Liberia as well.

– We emphasize here that the concentration of this epidemic of Ebola is largely centered in West Africa, and that although other countries have reported cases, these are only sporadic occurrences.

– West African countries who have identified cases of Ebola are: Nigeria, Senegal, and DR Congo.  None of these countries has confirmed cases numbering over 10, and this week, the World Health Organisation is preparing to declare the outbreak in Senegal and Nigeria to be officially over.  DR Congo has reported one case only.

– In the U.S., after the death of one patient who flew from Liberia, there are two subsequent cases, and there has been one death in Spain, confirmed as a transit patient.

At the present time, the outbreak is expected to escalate in Liberia for the next month, however, there are signs that it is relenting. It is clear that the outbreak has worsened in Liberia due to a severe lack of beds, adequate medical staff, and proper equipment to protect healthcare workers, as well as basic supplies. What does this mean for you, the traveller?  And how does this affect travel to other countries?  Quite simply, what it means is that you can stay healthy, simply by practicing basic hygiene, including frequent and thorough hand washing, taking extra precautions when using public facilities and wiping off faucets, and any other surfaces, including door knobs, before and after use. Avoiding contact with any person who might be infected, and using facial and hand cover in the event that contact cannot be avoided. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, remembering that you can only become infected with Ebola through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected, symptomatic person.

Dengue –  Guangdong – South China

Following our last report on the Dengue Fever outbreak in Guangdong in China, cases have since increased to over 33,000 cases, despite all Government efforts to control the epidemic.  This particular strain of Dengue has caused an unprecedented amount of deaths, and Dengue has been reported in more than 10 provinces in South China.

Dengue – Taiwan

Taiwan had reported a few thousand cases of Dengue Fever until recently,  however, today, there are more than 5,000 confirmed and more suspected cases in the Island country.

Should you plan to visit South China, or Taiwan during this season, may we advise you to contact us as early as possible before travelling, to book an appointment for a consultation and advice regarding any medications or pre-travel check-ups you might need.   There is no cure for Dengue Fever, however, there is protection through preventing mosquito bites.  Persons suffering from arthritis, diabetes, and high blood pressure are particularly susceptible to the effects of Dengue fever.  Visit one of our Travel Health Clinics in London as soon as possible before leaving, so we may advise you on staying healthy.