Latest Essential Travel Health News

03 August 2011: The My Health Picture Travel health Bulletin is brought to you by the expert team at Nomad Travel. Edited by Rebecca Swadling, Clinic Nurse Trainer, Nomad Travel Clinics
For more information and the latest on travel health and vaccinations visit:
03 August 2011
Fiji – Rubella
The Ministry of Health has confirmed there is a rubella outbreak in Fiji. Ministry spokesperson Peni Namotu told FBC News that there are 11 confirmed cases of rubella — most of which have been reported in Suva.
Advice to travellers
Rubella is easily spread through coughing and sneezing.  Ensure you have been fully vaccinated prior to visiting affected areas.  If no history of vaccination or if you are unsure, in adults, 2 vaccines given ideally 1 month apart will provide cover.
Sri Lanka – Dengue Fever
Sri Lanka recorded the highest number of dengue cases of the year this month [July 2011], latest statistics released by the Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry showed. In July 2011, 3697 cases of dengue have been reported from all over the country adding up to 13 975 cases so far this year. A total of 112 patients have died of the mosquito-borne disease. Most of the dengue patients and deaths have been reported from the Western Province. Colombo district has seen the most cases with 5454 patients and 51 deaths.
Cambodia – Dengue Fever
Cambodia reported 4626 cases of dengue fever which had claimed 23 Cambodian children’s lives so far this year.
Bahamas – Dengue Fever
The number of confirmed cases of dengue fever has more than doubled in the past 2 days, according to health minister, Dr Hubert Minnis, who confirmed that there were 195 cases.
Advice to travellers
Dengue fever is spread by daytime biting mosquitoes normally from sunrise to sunset and is more common in urban areas. It causes a high ‘breakbone’ fever (pain all over), accompanied with headache, rash. It lasts a few days and will resolve itself. If caught a second time it has a 2% chance of developing into Dengue Haemorrhagic fever which can be fatal.  There is currently no vaccine available and therefore insect bite avoidance is essential.
Myanmar – Malaria
Malaria has taken a turn for the worse in tribal dominated remote hamlets in North Tripura with 5 deaths reported. The death toll in diarrhoea, viral fever and malaria has reached 129 so far this year in the area. The entire Dhalai district had already been identified as malaria prone and become drug resistant. Spraying of DDT, use of instant diagnostic kits in highly malaria prone areas besides, distribution of 115 000 medicated nets and fogging machines were on.
Advice to travellers
Travellers to the affected area should seek expert advice before they travel regarding the most suitable form of malaria tablets for their trip and medical history.They should ensure that they take the tablets as advised or they will not work as well.  Malaria tablets are approximately 90 – 95% when taken properly, so bite avoidance should also be adhered to. Always wear 20-50% DEET on all exposed skin, sleep under a mosquito net and wear long clothing to protect you. Malaria carrying mosquitoes generally bite between sunset and sunrise.
UK – Measles
Parents are being urged to get their children vaccinated as the number of people infected by measles in Sussex continues to rise. There have been 73 confirmed cases of the virus so far this year, more than 10 times the number for the whole of 2010. Health bosses believe many people have caught the virus while visiting countries which are experiencing a mass outbreak of the disease. The Health Protection Agency is warning families planning to visit France,
Bulgaria and Italy during the summer holidays to make sure everyone is protected.
Congo – Measles
A measles epidemic has killed 1145 children in the Democratic Republic of Congo since January 2011, the UN’s Humanitarian Affairs mission in Kinshasa said. The epidemic “has already affected 115 600 children and killed 1145” between January and June 2011, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement.
New Zealand – Measles
The Auckland Regional Public Health Service can confirm 76 confirmed cases of measles in the Auckland region, 3 contacts are in quarantine.
Advice to travellers
Measles is easily spread through coughing and sneezing.  Ensure you have been fully vaccinated prior to visiting affected areas.  If no history of vaccination or if you are unsure, in adults, 2 vaccines given ideally 1 month apart will provide cover.
Cambodia – Avian ‘flu
A 4-year-old Cambodian girl has become the 7th person to die from bird flu in the country this year.  Tests confirmed she had contracted H5N1 avian influenza.
Advice to travellers
Avian Flu is spread through close contact with infected poultry. Avoid contact with poultry and wild birds (e.g. markets, farms). Wash your hands frequently and well, consider carrying a hand sanitiser gel with you, avoid eating undercooked or uncooked poultry or eggs.
Pakistan – Rabies
The incidence of rabies is on the rise in Pakistan as at least 5000 deaths are being recorded annually, mostly caused by dog bite. Whereas rabies cases being reported from India are much higher and one person is falling prey to this zoonotic viral disease every 20 minutes.
Bolivia – Rabies
The country is facing a rabies epidemic with an increase in cases in 3 departments and the death of 4 people due to the infection. According to the records of the National Zoonoses Program, the Cochabamba department has 40 canine rabies cases, Santa Cruz 38, Sucre 21, La Paz 4, Beni 4, Potosi 2, and Tarija one. In Oruro and Pando  there has been no rabies incidence.
Advice to travellers
Travellers are advised to consider pre travel Rabies vaccine, this consists of a course of 3 vaccines administered over the course of 21 to28 days; this removes the need for Rabies Immunoglobulin in the event of an injury. Animal contact should be avoided wherever possible and in the event of contact with animal saliva any wound should be thoroughly washed with soap and water and Iodine or Alcohol applied. Medical advice should be sought as soon as possible even if vaccinated with a full course of Rabies vaccine.
Bangladesh – Flooding
Heavy flooding in southeastern Bangladesh has forced more than 20 000 people from their homes in Cox’s Bazar and Teknaf districts, say local authorities. The homes of more than 20 000 people have been completely destroyed by the floodwaters, with another 84 000 homes partially damaged. So far at least seven people have died in the floods.
Martinique – Hurricane
A cyclone alert has been issued for Martinique from 2 August 2011. Tropical storm Emily is expected to cause severe rains, storms and floods. Remain vigilant and follow any evacuation orders from local authorities.

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