Dengue, Guangdong, China – October 17th 2014

WORLD HEALTH ALERT- 17/10/14: Dengue in China and Jamaica, MERS Saudi Arabia, Demonstrations in Hong Kong, Ebola Update, Thailand Vaccinations

Dengue, Guangdong, China

China continues to institute all possible measures to bring the Dengue epidemic under control, including wide-spread programs to further educate people in protecting themselves, and in helping to slow down the spread of the mosquito population.  With total cases now totalling over 31,000, mostly centered in the Southern Province of Guangdong, and particularly in Guangzhou, officials with the Water Bureau in Guangzhou city have made the decision to introduce mosquitofish into the water.  Mosquitofish consume mosquito larvae, but can only be controlled in bodies of static water, where mosquitoes normally breed and multiply.

Chikungunya, Jamaica

The Pan American Health Organisation has reported that endemic cases of the Chikungunya Virus have now reached 400, with one death in Jamaica.  The outbreak in Jamaica is now being called- a full-blown epidemic- and Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, has declared a National state of Emergency over the spread of the virus.

State resources totalling U.S.D4.5 million have been assigned to fund national response efforts in the battle to destroy and reduce mosquito breeding sights across the country. Chikungunya, like Dengue Fever, is a mosquito borne virus which causes fever and severe joint pain which can last months and, even years.  Other symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting and rash, with potential ongoing symptoms such as persistent gastrointestinal  problems, and even heart complications in some cases.

The mosquito which carries the CHIK virus can bite you indoors and outdoors during early morning and into late afternoon, unless you protect exposed skin with liberal applications of insect repellent, like Deet, and wear pants and long sleeves, sprayed generously with Permethrin.  Use a mosquito net also sprayed with insecticide if you are sleeping in a room without screens. More than 800,000 cases of Chikungunya have to date been reported throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, more than half of which in Dominican Republic.

MERS, Saudi Arabia

7 new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome have been recorded in the past two weeks in Saudi Arabia, while millions of HAJJ pilgrims remain in Mecca, and these new cases raise the total case count to 877 laboratory-confirmed cases globally, with 317 deaths related to the virus.  Mers is a highly-contagious respiratory virus which can be transported by any infected person to another country, and this, in many cases, without detection.

There appear to be no targeted screening procedures in place as yet to detect symptoms in passengers arriving from the most affected countries in the Middle East.  Confirmed cases of the virus point to camels as the hosts of MERS, and in analysis, fatalities have proven that victims either had proximity to camels, or had consumed camel products such as meat and milk.  Until more is understood about the virus, persons with lung disease, or diabetes, and immuno-compromised persons should avoid any contact with camels, farm animals, and barn areas.

Hong Kong, Demonstrations

Following three weeks of protest activity in what are already congested areas of Hong Kong, pro-democracy student groups continue blocking main thoroughfares, not only on Hong Kong island, but also in Kowloon.  Friday morning Hong Kong police stormed camps near a major intersection in Mong Kok, carrying wire cutters and riot shields, and tearing down tents and installations set up by the protesters.  Following this, the Government issued a statement saying they were eager to resume talks with the protest groups.

Ebola Crisis – Global Report

The Ebola Epidemic continues its rampage through West Africa, and each day, more countries report restrictions on travellers arriving from countries affected by the disease.  Of the 7 countries having confirmed cases of Ebola, Senegal and Nigeria have passed the requisite 42 day period without any new cases.  The U.S. and Spain continue to isolate and monitor the cases they have handled so far, with the only new cases in the U.S. involving nurses who treated the the transit case in Dallas, Mr. Thomas Duncan.

As the death toll rises towards 4500, the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response has been established to drive the united project towards taking all possible steps in ensuring essential treatment to patients. In addition, the UNMEER will help in securing necessary medical supplies and assistance, and overseeing efforts towards stabilising the crisis in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, while at the same time, preventing the spread of the virus to unaffected areas.

For any questions or concerns you have regarding travel plans to any of the countries mentioned in our Blog, please contact one of our Travel Health Clinics in London, for a free consultation.

Travel Vaccinations for Thailand

Every year over 800,000 people form the UK travel to Thailand, many to escape the winter to seek time in the sun. If you are planning a trip this winter, do get in contact with one of our clinics in London to ensure you are up-to-date with the Travel Vaccinations you need for Thailand before you travel.