Yersinia Pseudotuberculosis, New Zealand – October 2014

WORLD TRAVEL HEALTH ALERT –  18/10/14, Lyssavirus Australia, Yersinia Pseudotuberculosis New Zealand, Hong Kong Demonstrations, Dengue China, Ebola Update.

Lyssavirus – Kimberley, Western Australia

Health officials in Kimberley Australia have detected deadly lissavirus in several sick bats, and have now extended the existing health warning to Pilabra.  Lissavirus is the deadly relative of Rabies, and is fatal in all cases.  Although the case count is low, the population are warned to seek medical assistance immediately if they are scratched or bitten by a bat, and to wash and clean the would thoroughly at once for at least five minutes, applying an antiseptic such as iodine afterwards.

Yersinia Pseudotuberculosis,  New Zealand

Since our recent report on an outbreak of Yersinia Pseudotuberculosis in New Zealand, 26 new cases have been reported and 38 people have been hospitalised.  It is still unclear as to the specific source of the disease, however, the bacteria which causes it is known to come from food.

Protests-Demonstrations, Hong Kong

Weeks of student pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong’s Mong Kok and Financial Districts, that involved road blockages, traffic tie-ups and difficulties with public transit schedules, have now escalated into violent confrontations. Reports say that no less than 240 people have been injured in just the past 24 hours, as protests continue to disrupt the normal flow of daily life.  Since 500-600 police stormed the protesters camp, with riot gear, there have been 33 arrests for disorderly conduct and property damage.

Dengue Fever,  Guangdong City

With more than 31,000 confirmed cases of Dengue Fever in Guangdong Province in China, primarily in Guangzhou City, there appears, at last, to be some relief in sight, as temperatures begin to cool slightly.  The Dengue season in South China has laid the heaviest toll on Guangdong Province, but up to 10 other provinces continue to report high case counts, with the season still months from its projected end.

Ebola, Global Update

Reports and alerts from just about everywhere pop up every day on new Ebola cases, and new Ebola scares.  In Washington, D.C. a woman became ill on a shuttle bus, causing alerts that Ebola could reach the Pentagon; In Serbia, a plane made an emergency landing due to an Ebola scare; In Spain, a passenger plane was isolated when 4 people showed symptoms of Ebola; In Italy a Turkish Airlines aircraft made an emergency landing due to a suspected Ebola case on board.

More unsettling are some of the statements issued by uninformed and short-sighted officials and public figures in the U.S., who, knowing precious little about the hard truth, encourage the press to publish grossly misleading quotes, the like of which we hesitate to repeat here. Suffice it to say that, for example,

– Sending U.S. troops to fight Ebola is a plot to infect the nation

– If someone has Ebola at a cocktail party, they’re contagious, and you can catch it from them

– If we go from 20,000 infected to 100,000, the population might allow it to mutate and become airborne

Can do nothing but fan the flames and instil fear where understanding and knowledge are most desperately needed. There is evidence all around us that each day the Ebola crisis becomes more driven by fear than by knowledge, reason, and swift, decisive action.

In the three countries who suffer the worst of the epidemic, supplies, staff, and proper facilities are falling far behind the advance of the disease.  Guinea, the first country to report Ebola cases in late March, is now seeing daily cases spiking out of control, and in Sierra Leone, new cases have begun to appear in previously-unaffected regions of the country.