Travel health news provided by Nomad
Blog Words : Wanderlust health advice | 24 November

Wanderlust travel health update: rabies, measles and more

This week's travel health news, including rabies, measles and more

This health advice is provided by Nomad, who offer Wanderlust visitors 10% off equipment online and in store including 10% off vaccinations. See the Nomad website for more details.

Vietnam – Dengue Fever

Dengue fever has so far this year claimed 46 lives among 49,011 Vietnamese people who have been infected, according to the Vietnam Administration of Preventive Medicine. The number of patients with dengue fever in Ho Chi Minh City is still increasing, according to the city's Preventive Medicine Centre. The city has recorded 10,550 patients with dengue fever since the beginning of this year. Ten cases have been fatal, compared to two during the same period last year.

Pakistan – Dengue Fever

The total number of dengue patients in Punjab has risen to 21,115 out of which 17,360 are in Lahore.

Sri Lanka – Dengue Fever

A total of 22,244 dengue cases have been reported during the past 11 months, from all over the country. The total number of dengue deaths reported during the same time period is 151. Around 5,756 dengue cases were reported from the Western province.

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 and rash. It lasts a few days and will resolve itself. If caught a second time it has approximately 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.

Ghana – Rabies

Rabies had killed two teenagers at Tikobo Number Two and Bonyere in the Western Region after being bitten by dogs.

Advice to travellers

Travellers are advised to consider pre-travel rabies vaccine, this consists of a course of three vaccines administered over the course of 21 to 28 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.

Russia – Measles

Rostov: A measles outbreak has been recorded in the Rostov region. Since the middle of October 2011, the disease has affected more than 20 people. No cases of measles had been recorded in the region during the previous two years.

UK – Measles

Sussex: Health bosses are battling a measles outbreak. Nine children at two Hove schools have been diagnosed with the potentially fatal disease in the past couple of weeks – more than the entire number of cases in the whole of Sussex last year (2010). City health bosses are working with the Health Protection Agency to try to prevent the spread of the disease.

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, two vaccines given ideally one month apart will provide cover.

Ghana – Yellow Fever

Health authorities in the Northern region have confirmed a new case and fatality due to Yellow Fever in the Northern region. The affected 16 year old boy arrived at a clinic in the Sawla District with complaints of fever, chills, vomiting and abdominal pains. He was referred to the Wa Hospital in the Upper West Region, where he died the next day.

Advice to travellers

Yellow Fever is spread by the bite of an infected aedes aegypti mosquito that generally bites during the day. It is an untreatable acute viral disease which can vary in severity and can be fatal.

Travellers should avoid infection by preventing mosquito bites. Apply 50% DEET to all exposed skin regularly, treat clothing with premethrin or apply 100% DEET to collars and cuffs. Remember when wearing sunscreen to apply the cream first and the DEET on top. Always sleep under premethrin treated mosquito net. When vaccinated you will be provided with a Yellow Fever Certificate which you should keep with your passport and will have ten years cover.

India – Japanese Encephalitis

Bihar: More than 1,000 children are feared to have been affected by Japanese encephalitis in Bihar's Gaya district. On average, one child has died every day for the last three months in the district.

Uttar Pradesh: Five more children have succumbed to encephalitis in eastern Uttar Pradesh, meaning the death toll from the viral disease has climbed to 585 this year. As many as 175 encephalitis patients are undergoing treatment in BRD and other hospitals in the region.

Advice to travellers

Japanese encephalitis is spread by night biting mosquitoes in certain parts of Asia.
Outbreaks occur mainly during or just after monsoon time however can happen year round. The risk to short-term travellers is very low, particularly if they are only visiting urban areas, with overall estimates of one case per million travellers.

The risk becomes greater for persons who intend to live or travel in risk areas for long periods of time, and have rural trips during transmission seasons. The majority of cases of JE are asymptomatic or non-specific. Travellers to affected areas should seek advice prior to their trip. Vaccination is available and consists of two or three injections over a four to six week period. Bite avoidance is essential.

Pakistan – Polio

The National Institute of Health Islamabad has confirmed four new cases of polio in Pakistan. The new cases include one from Mastung (Balochistan), two from North Waziristan and one from Khyber Agency.

"Pakistan has surpassed the previous year's tally of 144 cases," Dr Altaf Bosan, co-ordinator of the Prime Minister Polio Eradication Cell, told Central Asia Online (Sourced by HealthMap).

Nigeria – Polio

A four-fold increase in polio has been reported in Nigeria, with the disease spreading to other countries, a World Health Organisation official says. Forty-three cases were reported in Nigeria this year, compared to 11 last year.

In 2003, northern Nigeria's Muslim leaders opposed vaccinations, claiming they could cause infertility. Nigeria is one of four countries in the world -- along with Pakistan,
India, and Afghanistan -- where polio is still a major health risk.

Advice to travellers

Transmission of polio occurs primarily through person to person contact and is spread mainly through the faecal-oral route. It is found in areas where sanitation is poor. In rare cases milk, and other food stuffs, contaminated with faeces have been reported as the vehicle for infection. Travellers should ensure good food and water hygiene – seek advice before you travel. Travellers to affected areas should also ensure their vaccinations are in date prior to travel. Boosters last ten years.

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