Daily Travel Health Update 4 July from Destination Health: Travel Clinic London
The Chikungunya Virus Outbreak in the Caribbean continues to spread with a rapid rise in confirmed and suspected cases over the past week. We have been reporting daily on this outbreak for some time now and reports are suggesting that there are no signs as yet of a reduction in the spread of the illness across the region. Chikungunya Fever is spread by mosquitoes that bite mainly during the daytime. It causes those infected with the illness to experience high fever, skin rash and severe joint and muscle pains. There is currently no vaccination for Chikungunya Fever so travellers are advised to avoid being bitten as the best preventative measure, including using DEET insect repellent and covering areas of exposed skin. There could be as many as 300,000 cases of the disease across the region since the outbreak began at the start of March this year, with a high proportion in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It is also affecting some areas of Central and South America as well as some of the southern states of the United States.
Over 2,300 people have reported to have contracted Cholera during a recent outbreak in South Sudan, of which 63 people have died. The World Health Organisation has responded by increasing its medical presence on the ground in South Sudan and is now running three cholera treatment centres and three oral rehydration centres with further facilities planned. The outbreak started in overcrowded and unsanitary refuge camps following people fleeing the recent fighting in the country. People become infected with Cholera after coming into contact with or drinking polluted water containing the disease. Cholera can cause severe dehydration and can be fatal if left untreated. Authorities are concerned that the disease could spread further with the onset of the rainy season.
Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone
The West African Ebola Virus Outbreak is now the worst outbreak of this disease in history with almost 500 fatalities from the disease across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Authorities including the World Health Organisation fear that the disease may spread further throughout the region and last many more months. Ebola is a highly contagious disease with fatality rates as high as 90% in some areas. People infected with the disease usually show signs and symptoms of high fever which in time develops into a more severe illness which causes haemorrhaging of vital organs which leads to death. Combating the spread of the disease in the region is challenging as there are over 60 separate affected areas and it is difficult to control the movement of people across boarders. Medical workers area also finding it difficult to treat patients as locals sometimes prefer to use traditional healers and take infected people out of isolation wards. Practices such as touching the body during funeral services is also contributing to the further spread of the disease.
There have been a number of suspected cases of Japanese Encephalitis in Malaysia. Authorities are currently conducting tests of animals including pigs to determine the nature of the disease. Japanese Encephalitis is an infection which is found in animals such as pigs and birds and is spread to humans after the animals are bitten by mosquitoes. It is a serious disease which causes encephalitis of the brain and can be fatal in severe cases. People travelling to high risk areas can be vaccinated against this disease. Speak with one of our travel nurses at either of our Travel Clinics in London for further information and advice.