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Blog Words : Wanderlust health advice | 04 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 Travel who are offering Wanderlust visitors 10% off  equipment online and in store including 10% off vaccinations. See the website for more details.

Kenya – Yellow Fever

Medical personnel in Baringo and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties have been put on high alert after nine out of 16 of people tested for yellow fever turned out positive. The area had been put on high alert last week after a 50-year-old man succumbed to a disease suspected to be yellow fever in Kapluk area of North Baringo district, bringing to six the number of people who have succumbed to the disease since the beginning of the year.

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 avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.

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.

Thailand – Malaria

More than 2,000 people in Thailand were infected with malaria in the past three months, the Public Health Ministry said yesterday. Malaria remains a threat in the deep south, especially Yala Province, where the number of malaria cases has increased from 30 a year to 3,000 annually over the past several years because of the unrest in the area, Vector-Borne Disease Bureau director Dr Wichai Satimai said. Meanwhile, the number of foreigners infected with malaria in Thailand this year was 3,220, a 19 per cent decrease from the same period last year. Last year, about 24,816 people were infected with malaria. Of this number, about 15,181 cases were people living along the Thailand-Burma border.

Mozambique – Malaria

The number of cases of malaria in Maputo province increased sharply in the first quarter of this year. 49,854 cases of malaria had been diagnosed in the province between January and March this year, compared with only 19,018 in the same period of 2010.

Zimbabwe – Malaria

Malaria has so far claimed 125 lives throughout the country since the beginning of malaria peak season last month amid reports of serious shortage of drugs in most districts. A further 71,858 people have so far been treated for the disease. Of the cases, 9,549 were reported in the week ending April 3, 2011 with 2,007 of the cases being children under the age of five.

Australia (Torres Strait) – Malaria

The malaria outbreak on Saibai and Dauan has resulted in a travel ban between the Torres Strait and Papua Guinea. The DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) said that the travel ban will help in not damaging the flimsy health system. The travel ban was put into effect on March 28, 2011. Meanwhile, Queensland Health public health medical officer Steven Donohue said that an outbreak cannot be declared yet.

Health officials on Saibai revealed that some seven cases have been found there, they are educating people about the symptoms and prevention of the disease.

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% effective 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.

Bhutan – Rabies

A boy has succumbed to rabies at the Phuentsholing hospital. His age could not be confirmed. Dr. D K Mohanti said he could be between eight and ten. His family also could not be traced, and his nationality is not established.

The boy had told the doctor that he was bitten by a dog about a week ago.

This is the first death from rabies to be recorded in Phuentsholing hospital this year.

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.

Egypt – Avian ‘Flu

On April 16, 2011, the Ministry of Health of Egypt notified WHO of two new cases of human infection with avian influenza A (H5N1) virus. The first case was a 29 year old man from Fayoum Governorate Wadi Elrian area, who developed symptoms on April 1, 2011, was hospitalized on April 4, 2011, and died on April 7, 2011. The second case was a one-and-a-half year old baby boy from Fayoum Governorate, Sennores District, who developed symptoms on April 9, 2011 and was hospitalized on April 11, 2011. He is being treated and is in a stable condition.

Cambodia – Avian ‘Flu

The Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Cambodia has announced a confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N1) virus. The case was a five year old girl from Pea Raing district, Prey Veng Province. She died four days after admission to hospital. There have been reports of poultry die off in her village. The girl is the 15th person in Cambodia to become infected with the H5N1 virus and the 13th to die from complications of the disease. All five cases of H5N1 infections in humans in Cambodia this year have been fatal.

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.

Bangladesh – Measles

At least 20 children died of measles, and 200 others were reportedly infected with outbreaks of the disease in five Mro communities in the far-flung Poamuhuri area under Alikadam upazila (sub-district) of the hill district over the last two weeks.

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.

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