MERS – Ankara, Turkey – October 2014

WORLD TRAVEL HEALTH ALERT – OCT 19. MERS in Turkey, Avian Flu in China, Chikungunya Fever Latin America, Marburg in Uganda, Ebola Update

MERS –  Ankara, Turkey

The first case of MERS in Turkey has been reported in Ankara, where the patient has died in hospital, 5 days after his arrival in Turkey.  Passengers and crew on the same flight into Turkey are being monitored for signs of the disease. The total confirmed cases in the current outbreak of MERS is now reported at 877, primarily in Saudi Arabia.

Avian Flu – China

While it might be difficult to imagine, some diseases that normally infect animals can actually be transmitted to humans, and at present, there have been 440 confirmed cases of Avian Flu in China, all on the mainland, some of which have been fatal.  The two most recent cases of Avian Flu involved one 7 year old girl in Beijing. The Centre for Health Protection in Hong Kong notes that most of the other cases have been recorded in Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Shanghai.

The symptoms of Avian Flu vary from eye infection to normal flu symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches.  The more severe cases can progress to respiratory illness, chest infection, and even respiratory failure.

Should you be considering travel to any part of Southern China, may we recommend that you take time to book an appointment with one of our Travel Health Clinics in London for a pre-travel check, and consultation regarding vaccinations and medications you might require to ensure a healthy and safe trip.

Chikungunya – Latin America

The Pan American Health Organisation has reported that the number of autochthonous cases of Chikungunya in the Americas has increased by 12,121 cases in the past week alone.   In Columbia, the total case count has doubled from 6175 to almost 14,000, while the overall increase in cases throughout the Americas appears to be slowing somewhat.

Marburg – Uganda

Following reports over the past two weeks about a possible outbreak of Marburg in Uganda, it appears that there have been no new cases have been reported in recent weeks.  More than 100 people are still being monitored for possible symptoms, however, and we shall keep you advised of any new developments.

Ebola – Global Up-Date

The government of Canada has announced that a shipment of 800 vials of an experimental Ebola Vaccine will be sent to the World Health Organisation in Geneva, beginning October 20th.   The vaccine will be sent in three shipments, to safeguard the quality of the vaccine which must be kept at very low temperatures at all times. The Public Health Agency of Canada is supplying the vaccine to the WHO, in its role as the International Co-ordinating Body for the Ebola outbreak.

The WHO will guide and oversee the method in which the experimental vaccine is distributed and used, based upon careful testing regarding the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine in various doses.

Ebola – West Africa

With case counts over 9,000 in West Africa, and the number of dead topping 4,500, the World Health Organisation prepares to issue a report, admitting that they have been responsible for slow response and failure to comprehend the magnitude of the danger in this outbreak. Apparently, Médecins Sans Frontières, who initially moved in at the start, had left no room for doubt that things were out of control, but slow global response has led to what was an avoidable crisis.

Dr. Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Diseases, and co-discoverer of the Ebola virus four decades ago, stated that he had called for a state of emergency to be declared in July.