main image caption
Blog Words : Wanderlust health advice | 25 May

Weekly travel health update from Nomad

Weekly round-up of the world's travel health news from Nomad

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.

Thailand – Dengue Fever

From the beginning of this year there have been 9,418 dengue fever patients nationwide and seven fatalities, whereas 16,110 patients and 20 fatalities were recorded during the same period last year (2010). The central region has the most infections so far with 5,244 plus one death, followed by the south with 1,796 patients and two deaths. Provinces most prone to dengue fever include Krabi, Samut Sakhon, Satun, Songkhla, Ratchaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Sawan, Chon Buri and Trat.

Brazil – Dengue Fever

Ceara state – The number of cities in Ceara having a dengue epidemic has increased. Now there are 35 municipalities that have dengue deaths or have an incidence of cases over 300 per 100,000 population, criteria that the State Secretariat of Health use for epidemiological classification. There have been 39 deaths with another 31 under investigation. There are 17,066 confirmed dengue cases up to now.

Rio de Janeiro state – In just the first five months of 2011, the number of dengue deaths
in Rio de Janeiro registered a 35% increase in relation to all of 2010. The number of people suspected of dengue infections in the state reached 677 per day, with a resulting total of 85,425 cases. According to the Secretariat of Health, 18 municipalities have
reached epidemic status.

Paraguay – Dengue Fever

Alto Parana – According to the weekly update of the Regional Epidemiological Unit of the tenth Health Region, official reports of febrile syndromes suspected of being dengue reached 11,546, of which 8,831 were confirmed positives, 208 were negative for dengue virus infections, 2,507 remain as suspicious for dengue, and 22 were dengue deaths.

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.

India – Rabies

A 60-year-old woman, from Rajahmundry has died from rabies. She was bitten by a street dog two months ago and treated at AP [Andra Pradesh] Vaidya Vidhana Parishad Hospital, Rajahmundry. But, a few days ago, she was admitted to the same hospital for treatment.

She was referred to the Government Hospital and she died later. This is the third person in a week to die due to dog bites. Health secretary PV Ramesh told newsmen in Hyderabad that there was a shortage of anti-rabies vaccine in the GGH, Rajahmundry.

Advice to travellers

Travellers are advised to consider pre-travel Rabies vaccinations, 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.

Europe – Measles

There has been a sharp increase in the number of cases of measles in European countries
(principally Bulgaria, France, Italy and Germany) since early 2009.

Preliminary reports from ECDC for 2010 show that there were more than 30,000 cases of measles in EU/EEA countries, five times more than the annual average for the preceding five years. The UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) has seen an increase in measles
cases in children and young adults in England and Wales. Their figures show that between January and April 2011, 275 laboratory-confirmed cases of measles were reported, compared to 33 cases for the same period of the previous year.

Those most severely affected by the illness are infants under one year-of-age and adults over 20 years-of-age.

Advice to travellers

Ensure you have been fully vaccinated prior to visiting affected areas. It should be confirmed that children have received their recommended doses of MMR at 12-15 months of age and again at pre-school around three years and six months. Measles is easily spread through coughing and sneezing. If no history of vaccination or if you are unsure, in adults, two vaccines given ideally one month apart will provide cover.

Bangladesh – Anthrax

Three people have been infected with anthrax, a local health officer confirmed yesterday. They were taking treatment at hospital. Sources in the upazila health and livestock department said two goats got infected with anthrax a few days ago. One of them died, while the other was culled. The three villagers caught the disease as they processed the meat.

Advice to travellers

Anthrax is a bacterial illness that usually affects the skin, but may also affect the gastrointestinal tract or lungs. It is spread by infected animals either through eating infected animals or contact with their hides, wool, hair, bone or carcasses. Anthrax does not spread from person to person. Depending on the type, symptoms can include lesions, nausea, vomiting, and altered mental state and can be fatal.

Prevention of anthrax is dependent upon the control of the disease in livestock and on disinfecting, washing and scouring imported animal products.

Vaccination is available but normally only considered for those at risk from inhalation of spores in an occupational or military setting. Travellers should avoid contact with animals and potentially contaminated meat in affected areas.