Daily Update 19 June 2014 from Destination Health: Travel Vaccination Clinic in London.
Health authorities in the United States have been reporting an alarming rise in the number of Measles Outbreaks that have been occurring across the country. This year there have been 16 separate outbreaks across 20 states with around 400 cases of the disease being recorded. Measles is a highly contagious disease which is spread to person to person through tiny water droplets in the air that are passed on after an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms include high fever and spots around the mouth and throat. Although many people fully recover in about a week it is a very serious viral illness which can lead to death in some severe cases when it develops into either an infection of the brain or lungs. It was until recently very rare in developed countries but is seeing a comeback due to low immunisation rates in some areas. Travellers to any region of the world should ensure that they are first up-to-date with their routine childhood vaccinations to prevent catching and spreading this disease any further.
A person in Indonesia has died as a result of being infected with the H5N1 virus known as avian influenza or bird flu. This is the second death in Indonesia this year. H5N1 is a highly infectious respiratory disease which although has a low transmission rate from human to human it does have a high mortality rate.
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea
Over the past few days the Ebola Virus has claimed the lives of a number of people across the region; five new deaths have been reported in Guinea, four in Sierra Leone and five in Liberia. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and its partners are working in the region with all levels of government to try and help stop the spread of this disease which has a fatality rate of around 70%. The WHO does not currently have any trade or travel restriction warnings for this area, however travellers are advised to keep up-to-date with travel advice from the WHO and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
Authorities in Cuba have confirmed the countries first six cases of Chikungunya Fever which has been spreading throughout the Caribbean at an alarming rate this year. It is believed that those that have fallen ill have returned recently from Hati and the Dominican Republic which are both high risk areas for this disease. Although most people fully recover from Chikungunya Fever within a week, it is a very unpleasant infection which causes high temperatures and severe soreness in joints and muscles. There is currently no vaccination available for Chikungunya Fever however travellers can reduce the risk of contracting this disease by using insect repellant and covering areas of exposed skin to try and avoid being bitten by the mainly daytime biting mosquitos that carry this disease.
Reports from Malaysia suggest that there have been around 40,000 cases of Dengue Fever across the country so far this year, with at least 75 deaths from the disease. The cases have been reported from across the country, including Kuala Lumpur which is an area of high risk. The typical dengue fever virus causes severe fever and joint and muscle pains but most people usually recover within a week or two. The more severe forms of the disease dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome can develop rapidly into more serious symptoms and in severe cases is fatal. Travellers are advised to try and avoid being bitten by the mosquitos that carry this disease which bite mainly during the day. Use DEET 50% insect repellant and cover areas of exposed skin.