Daily Travel Health Update, October 7th 2014


Dengue Fever – Guangdong, South China

Guangdong Province in China is caught in the grip of an accelerating epidemic of Dengue Fever that breaks new records every day. While cases recorded and confirmed in Guangdong’s 20 cities now total over 23,000, the daily report of new cases tells an even more frightening tale. Today’s total of new cases stands at 1660, compared with Sunday’s statistic of 1400, an increment of 18.5% in just two days.

While Dengue season is not close to ending, health officials are racing against time to institute measures to better protect and educate people, and help to control the burgeoning mosquito population, and slow the progression of the epidemic.

Ebola – Development of Japanese Drug

A report issued by Médecins sans Frontières, states that a French nurse who was diagnosed with the Ebola virus while working in the Liberian capital of Monrovia, was repatriated to France, and has now recovered from the virus. An experimental drug known as Avigan, of which the clinical name is Favipiravir, was taken by this nurse and one other patient who has also recovered.

The companies responsible for the development of Avigan, Fujifilm, and Toyama Chemical in Japan, are working closely with pharmaceutical authorities and infectious disease specialists towards the potential of leveraging Avigan for the treatment of Ebola patients.

Dengue Fever – Malaysia

As some countries, such as the Philippines, have reported less Dengue Fever cases than they did in the same period of 2013, Malaysia is experiencing an unprecedented 77,500 cases, and 149 deaths, with at least two months left in the season. This total more than triples that of last year, when recorded cases reached just over 23,000. Patients are turning to Papaya juice to remedy the symptoms, but there is no evidence that it helps cure the virus. There is proof, however, that Papaya juice helps to increase the platelet count in the blood, which is lowered by the Dengue attack.

Marburg Virus – Uganda

The Ministry of Health of Uganda has confirmed 8 suspected cases of the deadly Marburg Virus, Ebola’s cousin. So far, there has been one fatality, an XRay technician at Mengo Hospital, who died of the disease in September. 80 other suspected cases have been isolated, and the World Health Organization is providing technical and logistical support to help contain the disease.

Marburg is a severe hemorrhagic fever, caused by a genetically unique RNA virus, which means that it is animal-borne. The principal host of the virus is the African fruit bat, yet, how the virus is transmitted from animal to human is still unknown.

In the event that you are travelling to Uganda, your first concern should be for your health and safety. Protecting yourself begins with knowledge, which we can provide with a free consultation at one of our two convenient Travel Health Clinics in London. It is highly recommended that you book an appointment for a pre-travel check, at least 4-6 weeks before your departure date, so that we can review what medications and vaccinations are needed for the journey you are taking. Some vaccinations do not take effect until weeks after being administered.

The incubation period for Marburg can run from 5 to 10 days, with a sudden onset of symptoms including headache, fever, followed by rash, chest and abdominal pain, together with vomiting.

Ebola – Madrid

Another 4 suspected cases of Ebola have surfaced in Madrid, following the first diagnosed case in Spain, and another 56 people are being monitored for signs of the virus throughout the country.