Taiwan Dengue Fever Slows at Last – 5th October 2015

It’s time for another weekly travel health update. If you’re planning a holiday, gap year or business trip, or you’re a health worker or volunteer, read on and stay safe.

Global health update for travellers

Taiwan dengue fever slows at last

Taiwan reports a slow-down in the number of new Dengue Cases after a particularly extensive outbreak. So far just under 20,000 people have been infected but compared to the same time last week the country saw 281 fewer new cases. Officials believe the outbreak is finally slowing down.

Kuwait treats cross-border cholera cases from Iraq

The Kuwait Health Ministry has reassured citizens and ex-pats alike that it’s doing all it can to deal with cross-border outbreaks of Cholera, which seem to be originating in Iraq. Luckily Kuwait has well-developed health, water, food safety and sewerage infrastructures, all of which play an important part in stopping the disease’s spread. The general public in Kuwait are adept at recognising the disease, another piece of good news for those wanting to prevent its spread.

Two people arriving from Iraq were found to have cholera, were tested positive, treated and are now in full recovery. And those who had come into contact with the infected people were also given precautionary treatment to prevent secondary infections. Better still, no further cases have been identified so far.

To keep things under control new arrivals are asked to check in with the nearest hospital if they develop Diarrhoea within 7 days of arriving in Kuwait. The country’s government also advises travellers with children aged under five, pregnant women, those with chronic diseases or weak immune systems to think about putting off their journey into or out of Iraq until the country is declared cholera-free.

The Kuwaiti ministry of health remains vigilant, aware that cholera can easily spread through the illegal movement of armed groups like ISIS and collapsing health systems in war-torn nations like Syria.

India’s worst dengue outbreak for years… plus an increased chikungunya risk

India is suffering the most cases of Dengue for years, with more than six and a half thousand cases and at least 25 official deaths in Delhi so far this season, although hospitals report the number is more like 30-40. As a result surgical wards are crammed with dengue cases fighting the potentially fatal illness carried by mosquitoes. The sheer number of cases has overwhelmed hospitals and in some, the patients are being forced to share beds.

At the same time there were 1583 cases of Chikungunya in India at the end of the last month, more than double the number at the same time last year when 507 cases were reported and no district experienced more than 100 cases. This year five different districts have already reported more than 100 cases. Luckily chikungunya is not fatal, but it’s very painful and can last as long as four weeks. Officials say it’s all down to the weather, with more rain than usual since March resulting in more mosquitoes and more mosquito activity.

E.coli in Scotland

Venison needs careful preparation if you want to stay safe from E.coli. So says Health Protection Scotland, which has announced there have been nine confirmed cases of the infection. All those suffering had eaten venison products including sausages, grill steaks, steaks and meatballs, all raw when bought then cooked at home.

Dr. Syed Ahmed, a senior consultant in health protection and a clinical director at HPS, said it’s important to cook deer meat really well and never eat it medium or rare. It is vital to cook venison all the way through so there’s absolutely no red or pink juice. You can also reduce the risk of E.coli by washing your hands after contact with animals, handling raw meat or going to the loo, and always washing them before handling food.

More travel health news next week…

Come back next week for another travel health update looking at what’s happening, how, where, to whom. If you have any travel health questions, we’re always pleased to help.