Daily Update 16 June 2014 from Destination Health: Travel Vaccination Clinic in London.
Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone
The Ebola Virus outbreak continues to be a major health concern throughout Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in West Africa. The death toll from the disease is now 144 in Guinea, 16 in Liberia and 19 in Sierra Leone. Ebola is an extremely dangerous disease with a high transmission an fatality rate. Travellers to this region are advised to keep up-to-date with travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
A recent outbreak of Measles in Somalia is risking the lives of hundreds of non vaccinated children in the region. Almost 1000 cases were reported in May which is more than 4 times the rate for this time last year. Measles is a highly courageous disease which can cause death and disability especially in children that have not been vaccinated against the disease.
In a period of two months from 11 April to 9th June, authorities in Saudi Arabia reported 402 laboratory confirmed cases of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) of which 114 were fatal. The outbreak which stated in Saudi Arabia has spread throughout the region and is causing significant concern amongst health authorities in the region. Travellers are advised to avoid close contact with people that are showing symptoms of this disease (couching and sneezing) and always practice good hygiene.
Authorities in the United States are reporting that the Chikungunya Virus outbreak which began in the Caribbean recently has now spread to six southern states across the USA. Florida has reported the highest level of cases of the disease with 25 confirmed cases. Travellers to areas of high risk are advised to make sure that they practice mosquito avoidance measures including using insect repellent and covering exposed skin to avoid being bitten by the daytime biting mosquitoes that spread this disease.
The recent Chikungunya Virus outbreak in the Caribbean countries has been spreading across a number of countries in the region. The following countries are at high risk of contracting the disease with ongoing transmission; Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guyana. Travellers to these countries should avoid being bitten by the mosquitoes that spread this disease mainly during the daytime by wearing insect replant and covering exposed skin.
Four new cases of Polio have been reported in the Peshawar region of Pakistan bringing the total number of cases this year to 82. Immunisation rates have fallen recently due to the halting of vaccination programmes in some parts of the country. Travellers to this region should ensure that they are up-to-date with all of their routine vaccinations that include Polio. Unvaccinated travellers who become infected whilst abroad are also high risk for spreading the disease upon their return, and has been the cause of a number of recent outbreaks.
Authorities in the Namayingo District of Uganda have reported over 100 cases of Cholera since a recent outbreak began in the region a few weeks ago, which has so far claimed the lives of at least 3 people. Containing the outbreak is challenging due to lack of facilities and qualified health professionals – the area has only one doctor. Travellers to this region should consider taking the Cholera Vaccination to avoid contracting this disease.