Daily Update 25 June 2014 from Destination Health: Travel Vaccination Clinic in London.
There suspected number of cases of Chikungunya Fever across The Caribbean since the outbreak began late last year has reached over 190,000. The disease has also spread to some parts of northern South America, Central America and the United States. Chikungunya Fever is a debilitating illness which is spread by daytime biting mosquitoes causing severe joint and muscle pain and fever in those infected with the disease. Most people fully recover within a few weeks however there have been around 20 deaths associated with this outbreak; people with pre-existing conditions and the elderly are most at risk. There is no vaccination for Chikungunya Fever but travellers can reduce the risk of developing this disease by avoiding being bitten by mosquitoes that mainly bite during the daytime. Wear insect repellent such as DEET 50% and cover areas of exposed skin.
Some news reports are suggesting that the Ebola Outbreak which is affecting Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in West Africa is now out of control, with more than 330 deaths across 60 different regions, making it the deadliest outbreak since the virus was first seen in 1976. The geographical scope, the number of affected areas and lack of resources is making it very difficult for health authorities to prevent the spread of this disease. This inability to contain and control the disease risks the virus spreading even further throughout the region. Further challenges presenting healthcare workers is local preference to use traditional medicine rather than western intervention. Some reports have suggested that families of those affected have removed patients from isolation wards, which has then caused others to become infected and spread the disease even further. Travellers to this area are advised to avoid all contact with people infected with or have come into contact with anyone infected with this disease. For up-to-date travel advice, refer to updates from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Authorities in Bali, Indonesia have reported that during a recent routine testing programme, seven dogs have tested positive for the rabies virus, across five regions of the island. The authorities are aiming to eliminate the virus from the island by 2020 but are suggesting that it may take longer than expected, with the huge stray dog population increasing by 2.5 million per year. Rabies has so far caused 146 deaths in Bali and travellers to this region should consider a rabies vaccination to help reduce the risk of contracting this very serious viral illness. Rabies, if left untreated has an almost 100% fatality rate.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) the recent outbreak of Polio in the tribal northern regions of Pakistan is now threatening to spread further into the country as displaced families migrate out of the area to avoid ongoing conflict. The outbreak is due to a drip in immunisation programmes in some areas due to the recent fighting. Travellers to all regions should ensure that they are up-to-date with their routine vaccinations including polio prior to departure. For further information and advice regarding polio or any other travel vaccinations, get in contact with any of our Travel Clinics in London.