Daily Travel Health Update, October 6th 2014


Ebola Virus – Western Europe

An excerpt from Reuters this morning paints a gloomy picture, paraphrasing a scientific forecast that tells us Ebola is no longer a West African epidemic, but a global threat.  The article goes on to say that indications are that there is a 75% likelihood of Ebola being imported to France, by the end of October, and a 50% chance it will come to the U.K.

These predictions are, apparently, based on disease spread patterns, and airline traffic data currently available, and the numbers assume airline traffic at peak volume.   There are indicators at present that airline traffic is declining, and should the trend continue, the risk of the virus arriving in France and the U.K. would be lessened as well. Add to this equation, the actuality that certain airlines have suspended flights to and from countries that are stricken with Ebola.

Can you catch Ebola on a plane?  The likelihood of this happening is low, and the first fact to bear in mind is that Ebola is not an airborne virus, like flu or the common cold.  Secondly, the virus can only be transmitted person-to-person through contact with bodily fluids from an infected person who is symptomatic.

And, most importantly, travel involves exposure to thousands of people in close quarters, at airports, lounges, restaurants, airplanes, and, of course, public lavatories.  Thorough and meticulous hygiene is now more vital than ever, and close attention to hand-washing, the use of anti-bacterial gel, and checking the cleanliness of any public facility before and after use, is indispensable as a tool for staying healthy.

Please feel free to contact one of our two convenient Travel Health Clinics in London for further information, or a consultation on pre-travel health, travel vaccinations, and medication, and for any questions you wish to ask about Ebola.

Typhoid –  Cebu City, Philippines

One person has died, and 7 others were quickly hospitalised, following an outbreak of Typhoid in one barrio, Barangay Guadalupe, in Cebu in the Philippines. The quality and safety of the local water is being tested by the City Health Department.  Although the number of people thus far affected is not great, there have been no cases of Typhoid here in over five years, so the situation is classified as an outbreak.  Typhoid fever is a potentially life-threatening illness, which can be contracted through contaminated water, or by eating food which has been handled by a person who is infected with Typhoid.  Should you have plans to travel to Cebu or a nearby area, please be sure to contact our Travel Health Clinic, at either location in London, at least 4-6 weeks before departure, for a pre-travel check, and consultation on Typhoid, and any other vaccinations you will require for a safe journey.

Dengue Fever Warning – Hong Kong

As Dengue Fever  swarms in countries all around Hong Kong, the Department of Health has issued a warning that the threat of a major outbreak could be on the horizon, and advises preventive measures be taken.

Specifically, preventing Dengue is all about not being bitten, as there is no cure at present.  Wear long-sleeved, loose-fitting shirts, long pants, and a hat, and apply generous amounts of an insect repellant containing DEET.  In non-air conditioned rooms, use a mosquito net treated with insecticide.  Stay clear of any areas where water has pooled or collected, as such areas are breeding sites for mosquitoes.

In South China, Taiwan, and Malaysia, the Dengue epidemic has reached record proportions, while Hong Kong has reported just 70 cases thus far.