Recent Spikes in Malaria Cases – 7th September 2015

It’s time for another weekly round-up, our regular travel health update. Today we’re looking at a collection of recent outbreaks of nasty diseases you’ll want to avoid.

Recent spikes in Malaria cases – at risk areas

During the past seven days outbreaks of Malaria have been reported in South Sudan, northern Uganda, Brazil, the Upper Nile in Egypt and Venezuela.

Apparently Uganda is seeing anything between 8000 and 10,000 cases a month right now, and the number of cases is also spiking in South Sudan. Locals have noticed a rise in cases in Goa, India, and there have been 6000 new cases of malaria in quick succession as eight different Brazilian cities record malaria outbreaks.

In serious cases malaria can kill, and it almost always makes you feel very poorly indeed. There are several ways to stay safe, and our travel nurses will advise you about which best suits you and your circumstances.

Whatever your situation, we’ll recommend antimalarial medication if you’re travelling to a high risk country or area. Luckily most of them are safe for everyone, including pregnant women. You can read our advice about malaria page for the latest insight and information, designed to make you fully aware of how to stay safe from the disease.

Cholera poses a threat in Brazil, Kenya and Cuba

Cholera has claimed three lives in Nyanza and Kamiti, both in Kenya. There have also been outbreaks of the disease reported in South Sudan, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Cuba’s Niquero and Granma areas have seen 11 cases of cholera recently, and there have been nine cases in the Saiya district of Nyanza, in Kenya.

As you’d expect, we provide cholera immunisation for travellers and our practice nurses are qualified to advise you about whether or not you need it.

TB surfaces in Ghana, Switzerland and China

This week sees reports of TB in Nkoranza, Ghana, with 29 cases so far in 2015 in the Abuontam, Akumsa-Domase, Bonsu, Ahyiayem, Nkwabeng and Nkoranza Township areas.

The local Health Directorate has organised a mass workshop for forty TB Control Programme Coordinators and other people affected in Nkoranza, in an initiative designed to help locals manage the disease’s spread through education, effective management and healthy living.

Twenty of the TB patients are men and nine women, all of whom are in hospital being given prescription drugs to treat the disease. One of the educational efforts taking place involves telling people how only taking the drugs on a regular basis, and rigorously, is good enough. The message is beign spread in a bid to encourage suffereres to take the full course of drugs and do it exactly as directed.

The country has also harnessed a host of traditional rulers, Assembly-members, religious leaders, Unit Committees and Civil Society Organisations to help spread the word and halt the spread of TB.

Geneva is the location of another TB case, namely a school in Carouge. Last week parents received a letter saying a case of tuberculosis had been detected in mid-August, found in a child attending their primary class. Thankfully the disease comes with a ‘minimal’ risk of spreading.

There has been a small TB outbreak in China’s Tianjin area too, but details are thin on the ground. Just bear in mind, if you’re visitng the area, that TB remains a severe public health issue in the region, with the so-called Beijing family of mycobacterium tuberculosis, also called M. tuberculosis, widespread in East Asia and especially prevalent in Beijing and Tianjin.

Want to know more about TB and how to avoid it? You can visit our page about respiratory diseases.

Meningitis reported in Colombia and Angola

At least 740 cases of meningitis were detected in the last eight months in south Angola’s Huila province, all in children aged five and younger. It just goes to show how much more vulnerable infants and toddlers are to some deadly diseases. If you’re travelling, wherever you’re going, make sure your little ones are properly protected with the recommended travel vaccinations.

At the same time Colombia has just released its latest meningitis statistics, revealing 30 meningitis deaths during the last week of August. Several strains of the disease are responsible, the main offenders being Neisseria meningitis, Streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis and Haemophilus influenzae meningitis.

A few days ago Colombia also reported the death of a soldier from bacterial meningitis, the second serviceman to die of the disease in an outbreak which led to more than 540 soldiers in the Military Canton at Apiay being placed in quarantine.

Marta Lucia Ospina, Colombia’s Director of Public Health, says the outbreak was caused by the Neisseria meningitidis or meningococcus, the only contagious version of the disease. It’s spread by carriers, in other words people who don’t develop symptoms, and it’s usually caught through being in close and prolonged contact with carriers who are coughing and sneezing.

‘Undocumented’ migrants tested free for hepatitis B and C in Italy

In Italy Hepatitis B and C tests have been offered free of charge to migrants since 2012, provided at four special clinical centres in Naples and Caserta. According to figures just released, 926 undocumented migrants and refugees visited one of the clinical centres in the six months between January 2012 and June 2013. The free screenings, which also come without any of the usual bureaucray to encourage attendance, are part of the Italian healthcare authorities’ efforts to help and educate migrants, and right now they’re set to become more important than ever as the flow of distressed and dispossessed humanity continues.

We’ll be back next week with more news about travel vaccinations, disease outbreaks and risky areas it might be best to avoid.