Mosquitoes and Zika Continue to March on
Mosquito Borne Diseases, Brazil
Reports from Recife in Brazil suggest that there have been almost 3,000 cases mosquito-borne diseases including Chikungunya Fever, Dengue Fever and Zika Virus so far this year. This is an increase in incidences from the same time last year. Travellers are advised to ensure that they practice mosquito avoidance measures including using insect repellent such as DEET 50% and covering areas of exposed skin to stop being bitten.
Dengue and Chikungunya Fever, Costa Rica
Cases of both Dengue and Chikungunya Fever have increased this year by more than 600% across Costa Rica with more than 3,000 infected with Dengue Fever and almost 1,000 with Chikungunya Fever. Both diseases cause severe headaches and aches and pains in the muscles and joints. Most people fully recover within a week or two of contracting the disease, however, there can be more serious complications amongst young children and the elderly. It is believed that the increase in the number of cases is due to a change in the weather caused by the El Nino weather phenomena. Both diseases are spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the same insect that spreads the Zika Virus. There is currently no vaccination for Dengue, Chikungunya or Zika and travellers are reminded that prevention requires avoiding being bitten by these insects by covering up exposed skin and using insect repellent.
With the onset of the rainy season, authorities are warning that there is a potential of an increase in Cholera rates in Wajir in north-eastern Kenya, due to poor sanitation in the area. In the past six months, more than 2,500 people have been treated in hospital for Cholera, of which 39 people have died. Travellers to this region should seek advice regarding vaccination prior to travel.
Lassa Fever, Nigeria
Reports from Nigeria suggest that almost 60 people have died from a recent outbreak of Lassa Fever. Lassa fever a viral haemorrhagic illness which is passed to humans via food and other objects contaminated by rat droppings.
The number of deaths from Rabies in the Tamil Nadu region of India has doubled over the past year, with 41 fatalities. Rabies is a very serious viral illness which is common across India and is spread to humans via the bite of affected mammals such as dogs, cats, bats and monkeys. Travellers to India should be risk assessed prior to travel.
Yellow Fever, Angola
More thank 100 people have died in Angola in the past two months due to being infected with Yellow Fever. There have also been reports of increased incidences of Cholera, Malaria and Diarrhoea across Angola. Yellow Fever, which is spread by mosquitoes is present across Angola. A vaccine for Yellow Fever is available and under International Health Regulations, all travellers over the age of 9 months are required to present an International Certificate of Vaccination (ICVP) before they are allowed to enter Angola.
Zika Virus Update
Zika Virus continues to be a major concern for travellers with 34 countries have reporting cases of the virus which is present mostly across the Caribbean and North and South America. There is no vaccine against Zika Virus and travellers are reminded to ensure that they practice mosquito avoidance measures such as covering up exposed skin and using insect repellent.