Daily Travel Health Update 30 June 2014 from Destination Health: Travel Clinic London
Chikungunya Fever is continuing to spread throughout the Caribbean as well as some parts of the Americas including the United States, Mexico and Venezuela. Since the outbreak began late last year on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin it is estimated that almost 200,000 have so far been infected with this illness. Chikungunya Fever which is spread by daytime biting mosquitoes causes a severe joint and muscle pain in those infected for a number of days. Although it usually clears up after a week or so it is very debilitating. There is currently no vaccination for Chikungunya Fever so travellers are advised to try and avoid being bitten by the mosquitoes that carry this disease. Using DEET 50% insect repellent and covering up exposed areas of skin by wearing long sleeves and trousers can help reduce the risk of contracting this illness. Speak with one of our travel nurses at either of our Travel Clinics in London for further advice regarding mosquito risk avoidance and other risk factors.
Two people have died and over 1,500 people have been infected by a recent Cholera Outbreak which has occurred in the Rautahat District of Nepal. The outbreak has been caused by people drinking contaminated water. Cholera, which is spread by the faecal-oral route is a serious illness which can cause those infected to loose a large percentage of body weight though severe diarrhoea. If left untreated, cholera can be fatal. A vaccination is available which travellers to this region should consider to help reduce the risk of getting this disease. Travellers are also advised to maintain high levels of personal hygiene, wash hands regularly and use alcohol gel.
A Cholera Outbreak is also affecting some parts of Harare the capital of Zimbabwe, where about 1,000 people have so far been infected with the illness. It is understood that the outbreak began due to unsanitary conditions in a crowded area of the city which has poor sanitation and a lack of toilet facilities.
Two people have died after being infected with Dengue Fever in the Southern Indian state of Kerala, a popular tourist destination for people visiting the backwaters. Dengue Fever is a disease which affects millions of people every year across the tropics. It is spread by mosquitoes that bite mainly during the daytime. There is currently no vaccination for Dengue Fever and travellers are advised to try to avoid being bitten by the mosquitoes that spread this disease by covering up areas of exposed skin and using DEET 50% insect repellent. Dengue Fever causes severe joint and muscle pains in those infected – it also goes by the name of break bone fever. Most cases clear up after a week but those infected can experience symptoms such as fatigue for sometime after. Fatalities from Dengue Fever are rare, with those with compromised immune systems and pre-existing conditions being at a greater risk.
Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone
Since the recent Ebola Outbreak began in Guinea in March, there have been over 330 deaths from this highly contagious disease in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The United Nations has sent over one hundred health experts to the region to help stop the spread of the disease further, which now has the potential to spread to neighbouring countries including Ivory Coast, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Senegal. Containing the virus is a challenge across such a wide area where boarders are often uncontrolled. The virus has now affected over 60 areas across the region. Efforts to control the disease are also hampered by local preference to use traditional medicine rather than western intervention. Travellers to this region should keep up-to-date with travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.