Anthrax in India – October 2014

WORLD TRAVEL HEALTH ALERT – 31/10/14. Anthrax in India, West Nile Virus US, Dengue China and Taiwan, Ebola Update.

Anthrax- India

Following 7 deaths from an outbreak of Anthrax in Simdega district of India has caused the quarantine of an entire village.  Anthrax is a pathogen that normally infects livestock and wild animals, and is transmitted to humans through contact with an infected animal, or by handling or consuming the meat and/or by-products of an infected animal. There are no recorded instances of human to human transmission of anthrax, which breaks down into three types, each with varying degrees of severity –  cutaneous (skin infection), gastro-intestinal, and respiratory.

West Nile Virus – U.S.

Cases of West Nile Virus in the United States continue to increase, with California reporting the highest incidence of the virus.  So far this year, 1668 cases have been recorded, of which there have been 58 fatalities.  Of that total, 654 have been in California.

The mosquito-borne virus is linked to a wide range of symptoms, including fever, headache, body aches, and occasionally swollen lymph glands.  While a large portion of people who become infected may develop few or no symptoms, the virus in its most serious form, can cause encephalitis and other neurological complications.

Should you plan to visit California or Texas, be sure that you are up-to-date with the progress of West Nile and take all necessary precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

Dengue Fever – China

The Dengue Fever outbreak in Guangdong Province, South China, is showing signs of relenting somewhat.  Guangdong has been hardest hit of all provinces in China, with the highest number of cases being reported in Guangzhou City of a total count over 37,000, health officials cautiously predict that the epidemic has peaked.

Dengue Fever – Taiwan

Taiwan continues to experience an alarming increase in new Dengue Fever cases, which are at an all-time high of close to 7,500, Worst hit is the southern port city of Kaohsiung, where efforts to clean up the city and disinfect abandoned buildings have been moved to top priority.  Former Director of the C.D.C., Michael Malison, is in Taipei at present, to help in educating Taiwan in how to prevent and control the spread of the epidemic.

Ebola – Global Update

As case counts in West Africa are reported by the World Health Organisation to have reached 13,700, and deaths from the Ebola virus in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone total more than 4,910, there could be indications that the weekly increase in new cases in Liberia seems to have halted.  The facts remain to be confirmed, however, since the apparent trend could reflect delayed reporting of the actual statistics by health agencies.  The October 29th situation report from the W.H.O. showed an increase of 3,500 cases from all three countries, with a decline in the count from Liberia.

D.R. Congo

18 days have now passed since the last new case of Ebola was reported in the Congo.  It has been determined with certainty that the outbreak in the Congo was totally unrelated to the epidemic of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.  A total of 42 days must pass without any new cases in order for the W.H.O. to declare the country Ebola-free.

U.S. soldiers returning from Liberia are being placed in isolation in Vicenza, Italy, and monitored for signs of the virus for 21 days.  More than 600 U.S. service personnel are now in Liberia, helping to battle and control the spread of the virus.