Daily Update 24 June 2014 from Destination Health: Travel Vaccination Clinic in London.
A series of Measles Outbreaks across the United States this year has so far reported more than 500 cases of the disease, the highest rate since 1995. Measles which presents itself as a high fever and a rash around the mouth and throat is a very serious and contagious respiratory illness. It is spread to person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes, passing on the virus which is found in the tiny water droplets that are spread. Measles can also remain active on surfaces for up to two hours. It is believed that the recent outbreaks in the United States is due to low immunisation rates amongst some communities. Travellers are reminded to ensure that they are up-to-date with their routine vaccinations prior to travelling anywhere throughout the world.
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea
The Ebola Outbreak which began in Guinea is feared to be spreading out of control across the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, with more than 350 people reported to have now died in more than 50 different locations across the region. There are not enough medical personnel or equipment required to combat this disease across such a large area. Further challenges such as local resistance to western medical intervention is making it difficult to treat the disease, with locals preferring to use traditional methods and in some cases have removed patients from medical isolation causing to spread the disease even further. Ebola first presents itself as headaches, high fever nausea and lethargy which then moves on to diarrhoea and vomiting. The virus then stops the infected persons blood to clot which leads to haemorrhage and death. Travellers to this part of West Africa are advised to keep up-to-date with travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and avoid all contact with anyone infected with this disease or anyone suspected to have come into contact with this disease.
During this years pre-monsoon season, the state of Maharashtra in India has so far this year recorded over 10,000 cases of Malaria this year, with seven deaths. Mumbai which is the largest city in this state has recorded almost 3,000 case as well as number of deaths. Travellers to this region should ensure that they are adequately protected prior to travelling. Speak to one of our travel nurses at either of our Travel Clinics in London regarding the malaria medication options that are available. Furthermore, use DEET 50% insect repellent and cover up exposed areas of skin to help avoid being bitten by the mosquitoes that carry this disease, especially at dawn and dusk and during the night time.
Countries throughout the Caribbean are on alert to try and prevent further spread of the debilitating Chikungunya Virus Outbreak which has now affected 19 counties in the region and suspected to have infected over 160,000 people. Chikungunya is a serious viral illness which is spread by daytime biting mosquitoes and causes severe joint and muscle pain in those affected with the disease causing them to be incapacitated for a number of days. Travellers to this region need to be vigilant and protect themselves against this disease by using insect repellent such as DEET 50% and covering areas of exposed skin by wearing long sleeves, long trousers and socks to cover ankles. There is no vaccination currently available so mosquito avoidance measures offers travellers the best chance of reducing the risk of contracting this disease.