Daily Update 29 May 2014 from Destination Health: Travel Vaccination Clinic in London.
A Measles outbreak in Somalia has infected over 75 people including more than 50 children under the age of 5. The recent outbreak is due to the shortage of the availability of the vaccination in the country following years of fighting. It is understood that only 30% of the population is vaccinated against Measles. Measles is a serious viral infection which was in decline across the developed world but is now seeing outbreaks due to drops in immunisation rates. Signs and symptoms include high fever and spots around the mouth and throat. Measles can develop into more a more severe illness which can cause infection of the lungs or brain which in some cases can be fatal.
Around 50 people are being treated for Cholera after two people have died after contracting the disease in the northern area of Cameroon close to the boarder with Nigeria. Cholera outbreaks are common in this region with a recent outbreak in 2011 resulting in the deaths of over 600 people.
Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced a global emergency following the rise of the rate the number of Polio cases worldwide. Polio was almost eradicated a number of years ago, however due to the halting of vaccination programmes, especially in Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan, the disease is making a return with 68 cases being reported so far this year.
Despite reports from West Africa that the recent outbreak of Ebola has now been contained, new cases suggest that it is still spreading within the region. The WHO announced two cases and one death in Guinea during the past week. Authorities are finding it very challenging in controlling the spread of this disease due to the nature of the open boarders in the region as well as the difficulty in educating the local population of the benefits of western medicine. Some locals prefer to use traditional medicine and take patients out of isolation wards which is contributing to the continuing spread of this disease.
The recent Chikungunya Virus outbreak in The Caribbean continues to spread throughout the region. The virus which causes severe fever and joint pains is spread by daytime biting mosquitos. There is no vaccination for Chikungunya Fever and travellers to the region are reminded to try to avoid being bitten by mosquitos by using DEET 50% insect repellent and covering exposed skin.
The Middle East
The recent outbreak of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) continues to spread throughout the region. Since being identified in 2012, more than 200 people have died across 11 countries. The Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome as the name suggests causes a respiratory illness which in some cases can be fatal, especially in the elderly and those with existing conditions. Travellers to this region should avoid crowded areas such as public transport and gatherings where the illness can be passed from person to person when infected people sneeze or cough. There is currently no vaccination against this disease so avoidance measures must be practiced to reduce the risk of contracting this disease.