Travel Health Report Weekly Wrap, Sep 19-26

Ebola Crisis in West Africa

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that there are now more than 3,000 known fatalities resulting from the Ebola outbreak which was first reported in late March, in Guinea.  Reported cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone increase daily, and any non-essential travel should be postponed.  Regular hand-washing, use of anti-bacterial hand-cleaner, and close attention to hygiene in any public area is the best way to stay safe.  Avoid any contact with persons who could be affected.  Travellers are strongly advised to check FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)   up-dates and alerts for daily developments.

Dengue Fever in China

Through the past week, the threat of Dengue Fever in  Guangzhou, Guangdong Province in China, has now reached epidemic proportions.  More than 9,000 cases of Dengue patients have been documented, despite more vigilant controls and prevention education.  At this point, there is no known cure for Dengue Fever, which causes severe muscle and joint pain, high fever, and headache.

The dengue-carrying mosquito usually bites during the afternoon, and into early evening, and to avoid being bitten, insecticide and protective clothing should be worn at all times.  A mosquito net treated with insecticide is also highly recommended.

Necrotizing Fascittis, Hong Kong

Four cases of Fasciitis reported in Hong Kong this past week. This is an highly contagious infection which is fatal in most cases.  Extreme caution must be taken when visiting hospitals or care facilities in any region where this infection is present.  Consult our Travel Health Clinic in London for up-to-date information prior to travelling.

Chikungunya Fever, Brazil

Oiapoque, Brazil, has declared a state of emergency due to an increasing and uncontrollable number of cases of Chikungunya Fever, caused by mosquitoes.  Also affected are regions of Peru, Venezuela, Central America and the Caribbean.  As in the case of Dengue Fever, there is no cure at present.  If you are travelling to any of these regions, be prepared with regular applications of insecticide, and clothing that covers arms, and legs. (note: If you are using sunscreen, apply the insecticide on top of the sunscreen).  Should you feel any early symptoms, including headache, fever, muscle pain…visit a clinic or hospital as quickly as possible.  Drink plenty of fluids to avoid de-hydration.

Legionnaires’ Disease, Barcelona

There has been reports of an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in Barcelona, Spain. Legionnaire’s symptoms begin with respiratory difficulties, and almost pneumonia-like symptoms. This disease is caused by certain bacteria in spas, hotels, and areas with warm fresh-water environments.  Legionnaire’s is treatable with certain antibiotics, but there is no vaccine.  It is rarely fatal.  On September 25th, another death was reported, bringing the toll to eight.

Dengue Fever, India

Reports of increased incidences of Dengue Fever have been occurring in India’s financial capital of Mumbai. The rise in the number of cases has been blamed on the recent irregular rainfall and high pollution levels. Dengue Fever, which is also known as break-bone fever causes high fever and severe joint and muscle pains as well as skin rashes. Travellers can prevent being bitten by the mosquitoes that carry this disease by remembering to cover up with DEET 50% insect repellant as well as covering any areas of exposed skin by wearing long trousers and shirt sleeves.