Travel Health Update, 24/10/14, Travel Clinic London

WORLD TRAVEL HEALTH ALERT – 24/10/14. Dengue Fever India, Protests Hong Kong, Chikungunya Fever Canada, Ebola Update.

Dengue – Bhopal, India

The spread of Dengue Fever in Bhopal, India, has accelerated to the point where it is now reported every third suspected case tests positive for the virus.  As many as 400 new cases have been recorded in the past few weeks, although the precise number is feared to be much higher.  Recently, the Health Department, faced with the facts that they are unable to curb the spread of the disease, have simply decided to control the flow of information, and for the past month, no updates have been published on the web. (Times of India)

Protest March – Hong Kong

About 200 Hong Kong student protesters marched to the home of the city’s Beijing- appointed leader, Leung Chun-ying, following talks between the two sides which failed to bring any positive result.  Barricades remain, and road blockages continue, despite the issuance of injunctions from the High Court, barring protesters from blocking roads.  Since that, teams of taxi drivers have become involved in the scuffle, visiting demonstration sites and tearing up barricades.

Through this past month of demonstrations, police have used tear gas, batons and pepper spray in an effort to disperse the crowds on both sides of the disputes, but have been either reluctant, or incapable of carrying their actions any further. After the failure of talks between Government and the student federation, little has changed in the unstable atmosphere that surrounds the city.

Chikungunya – Ottawa, Canada

A feeling of bewilderment permeates Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, following an attack by three gunmen, and the shooting of a young soldier this week, on Parliament Hill.  Further, comes the news that Chikungunya Fever has been diagnosed in more than 200 people in the same city.  Health Canada confirms that these are transit cases; people returning from countries in the Caribbean, or Latin America where the disease is endemic, and is at present a crisis situation in many countries.  As detailed in our Health Alert October 23rd, visitors to countries and islands where the outbreak is at its worst are at risk of being bitten, and then returning home with the virus in their bloodstream.  As winter approaches, it might be strange to imagine Canadians suffering with a tropical virus, but this does tell us something very important.  The virus is still not fully understood, and it now appears that anyone just about anywhere can be infected.  Wherever you go, in any country where mosquitoes are a threat, protecting yourself from bites is not just a good idea anymore, it is absolutely essential.

Be sure that you are fully informed on potential health risks at your destination.  Contact one of our conveniently-located Travel Health Clinics in London to book your appointment for that most important pre-travel check and a free consultation on any health concerns you have.

Ebola – Global Up-date

There was encouragement this week, when both Senegal and Nigeria were declared by the World Health Organisation to be confirmed free of Ebola.  Hard on the heels of that announcement, however, comes the news that total cases in the three worst-affected countries now approach the staggering figure of 10,000.

With this, is the confirmation that case counts continue to rise in Liberia and Sierra Leone, with a slightly lower count of new cases in Guinea.  At the same time, Mali reports its first case of a young girl, who had arrived from Guinea, infected with Ebola.  43 suspected cases are being monitored, mostly including people who had contact with the patient.

On the day that Dr. Craig Spencer, a doctor with MSF (Médecins sans Frontières- Doctors without borders), returned from months of work in Guinea, and was diagnosed with Ebola, the same organization published its protocols for staff returning from affected countries.

While New York officials issue press releases and dominant headlines virtually scream “Ebola in New York”, MSF confirms that of more than 700 expatriate healthcare workers sent to West Africa during this crisis, Dr. Spencer is the first to show any signs of the virus after returning home.