Daily Update 27 June 2014 from Destination Health: Travel Vaccination Clinic in London.
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea
We have been reporting daily for some time now on the Ebola Outbreak which is affecting three countries in West Africa – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Unfortunately reports suggest that this deadly disease is no closer to being brought under control, and is actually continuing to spread throughout the region. It is difficult for health authorities to control the spread of this disease due to the geographical scope that it covers – three countries and about 60 different affected regions within. Difficulties are further compounded by local opposition to western medical intervention with some people preferring to rely on traditional medicine. There is currently no vaccination for Ebola which has so far claimed the lives of 400 people. If you are travelling to the region, keep up-to-date with travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth office. Also, avoid any contact with anyone infected with this disease as well as anyone that may have come into contact with this disease. It is highly courageous and has a very high mortality rate.
The Chikungunya Fever Outbreak that has been causing problems across the Caribbean recently has also been reported on for some time now and is reported to be continuing to spread throughout the region as well as some parts of southern United States, Central America and northern parts of South America. It is suspected that somewhere between 175,000 and 200,000 people have so far been infected with this disease. Chikungunya Fever, which is spread by mosquitoes that mainly bite during the daytime, causes severe muscle and joint pains. There is currently no vaccination for it however travellers can reduce the risk of getting the disease by covering up exposed areas of skin so that they cant get bitten by the mosquitoes as well as using DEET 50% insect repellent.
Reports from Zimbabwe suggest that a recent Cholera Outbreak in a densely populated area of the capital Harare has affected around 1,000 people and there are fears that it might spread further throughout the city. Cholera is a serious illness which can cause those infected to loose a large portion of body weight in a rapid amount of time due to dehydration following severe diarrhoea and vomiting and if left untreated can lead to death. It is spread from person to person via the faecal oral route and it is believed that the latest outbreak occurred after people began drinking contaminated water. Travellers to this region should consider a cholera vaccination which will help reduce the risk of contracting this deadly disease. Also, never drink tap water, only rely on bottled water and maintain high levels of personal hygiene.
There are also reports of a Cholera Outbreak in Jigawa State in central northern Nigeria which has so far infected over 300 people, of which seven people have died. It is understood that the outbreak is due to poor sanitary conditions in some parts of the territory. Travellers are advised to take precautions as suggested above in the report on Zimbabwe. Speak to one of our nurses at either of our Travel Clinics in London for further advice.
Travellers to Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East are advised to keep up-to-date with advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office regarding the spread of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) which has so far infected over 700 people and caused the deaths of around 300 people. MERS is a severe respiratory illness related to the SARS virus and is spread form person to person when someone infected with the disease coughs of sneezes and this is breathed in. Avoid crowded areas as well as any contact with people who may be infected with this disease.