WORLD TRAVEL HEALTH ALERTS – December 1, 2010

New meningitis vaccine offers at-risk travellers more effective, longer-lasting protection

A new meningococcal meningitis vaccine is good news for Australians travelling to tropical regions of Africa, backpackers, and people working or living in developing countries.

Just released in Australia, Menveo protects against four strains of meningitis – A, C, W135, and Y – which are prevalent worldwide, but especially in Africa and Asia.

A new-generation conjugate vaccine, Menveo provides more effective protection and is expected to last longer than current polysaccharide vaccines currently available in Australia.

Meningococcal is the most aggressive of all bacterial infections. It can progress rapidly from a mild fever and headache to a life-threatening condition – sometimes within a few hours.


WORLD TRAVEL HEALTH ALERTS – December 1, 2010

–  Cholera now threatens PNG’s Fly River communities
–  Flooding raises fresh typhoid fears in Fiji
–  Two more rabies deaths on Bali
–  Dengue bulletin: latest global outbreak figures
–  Cholera deaths soar in Haiti, Chad, Cameroon
–  California wracked by whooping cough as national count soars
–  Chennai hit by sudden spike in malaria
–  Sulawesi rated Indonesia’s most malaria-prone province
–  Tanzania on high alert for polio
–  Bird flu outbreak in wake of floods
–  Spain enforces measles vaccination
–  Water supply suspected as source of parasite

Cholera now threatens PNG’s Fly River communities
With 32 dead and almost 900 infected on Daru Island, cholera now threatens scores of communities on PNG’s Fly River delta. Inter-island travel restrictions in the Torres Strait remain in place to prevent the spread of the disease into Australian territories. This weekly update also includes details of cholera, dysentery and diarrhoea outbreaks in Uganda, Chad, Honduras, and Mexico. More details.

Flooding raises fresh typhoid fears in Fiji
In Fiji, authorities are on alert for typhoid after the Wailea River in Vatuwaqa burst its banks on Monday. Earlier in the year, Wailea and Jittu Estate (Samabula) were declared typhoid-prone areas. More details.

Two more rabies deaths on Bali
A man and a 13-year-old boy from Banjar Gentong (Tegallalang regency) are the latest victims of rabies on Bali. Both died after receiving dog bites. Two other people are in critical condition with suspected rabies, one possibly infected by a rat bite. More details.
Advice to travellers: For most short-stay travellers to Bali, the risk of rabies remains low. However, medication for post-exposure treatment remains in short supply on the island. While dogs are the most common carriers of rabies, cats, monkeys and many other animals can also transmit the disease. Rabies is present in most countries and all travellers should be aware of the importance of avoiding contact with wild and domestic animals. If bitten, urgent post-exposure treatment is required. More on rabies.

Dengue bulletin: latest figures
INDIA
– In Punjab, a dengue outbreak continues in Lahore, with scores of cases reported daily in the capital and outlying districts last week. More than 5000 people have been treated since the outbreak began. More details.
MALAYSIA – Dengue fatalities continue to mount in Sarawak, with three deaths last week bringing the year’s total to 128 – double last year’s figure. There have been 43,477 cases to date. More details.
INDONESIA – High rainfall throughout 2010 has led to a three-fold increase in dengue in West Nusatenggara province, which includes the islands of Lombok and Sumbawa. There have been 1781 cases compared to 625 last year, with district-by-district figures listed in this Antara news report. More details.
This week’s dengue bulletin details outbreaks in: Philippines (Negros Oriental), Taiwan, Thailand (Phuket), India (Delhi, Andhra Pradesh), Pakistan (Punjab, Sindh), Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Brazil (Goiania, Sao Paulo, and Venezuela. More details.
Advice to travellers: Despite a reduction in the number and intensity of dengue outbreaks, the disease remains a risk to travellers visiting tropical countries in the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia. Aedes mosquitoes are found in urban areas. Preventing bites by covering up and usin g an effective insect repellent containing DEET or Citriodiol is the only sure way to prevent infection. Travellers should apply repellent regularly to exposed skin at all times when outdoors.

Winter vomiting bug takes hold in UK
Britain is bracing for widespread outbreaks of norovirus this (northern) winter following a spate of infections in England and Wales. During the first two weeks of November there were 12 outbreaks in hospitals, leading to nine ward closures. More details.
Advice to travellers: Norovirus is the most common cause of infectious gastroenteritis in Britain. Although generally short-lived, it causes nausea, severe vomiting and diarrhoea, which may lead to more serious complications among young children, the elderly and the sick.

Cholera deaths soar in Haiti, Chad, Cameroon
HAITI
– Cholera is claiming an average 100 lives a day in Haiti, with the death toll from the devastating outbreak now at 1721 from almost 76,000 cases. There have been isolated cases beyond Haiti’s borders: 4 in the neighboring Dominican Republic and 1 in Miami, Florida. More details.
Cholera fears have prompted Panama authorities to reinforce security and surveillance measures at air terminals that receive flights from Haiti.
CHAD – Cholera remains widespread, with 5787 cases (166 deaths) reported to date. More details.
CAMEROON – A five month-long outbreak centred on Far North Region has claimed 573 lives (8830 cases). Other regions affected include Centre, Littoral, West and Adamaoua. More details.
Advice to travellers: Travellers heading to regions with cholera outbreaks should adhere to strict personal hygiene guidelines and choose food and beverages with care. While the risk of cholera for most short-stay travellers is low, Travelvax can offer advice on the risk for their journey and whether vaccination is recommended. Contact Travelvax on 1300 360 164

California wracked by whooping cough as national count soars
Widespread outbreaks of whooping cough (pertussis) persist in the USA, with the national total now at 21,607 cases – 57% more than the same period last year. Of the 8 states with 500 or more cases, California has been hardest hit with 6795. More details.
Advice to travellers: Childhood diseases are common in both developing and developed countries. Regardless of their destination, we recommend all travellers to check their immunisation status for pertussis (whooping cough), as well as polio, measles, diphtheria, and mumps as part of their pre-travel medical preparations.

Chennai hit by sudden spike in malaria
In India, there has been a spike in malaria cases in Tamil Nadu’s capital, Chennai. Authorities are concerned at the rising number attributed to the potentially fatal p.falciparum strain, possibly imported by migrant workers from India’s far northern states. More details.
Advice to travellers: As with much of the sub-Continent, malaria is present year-round in rural and urban areas of India, especially during and after the monsoon season. The proportion of cases caused by the potentially fatal Plasmodium falciparum strain is increasing. Travellers to the region should discuss their itinerary, the need (or not) for preventative medications, and the available options at a Travelvax clinic or with their healthcare provider.

Sulawesi rated Indonesia’s most malaria-prone provinces
West Sulawesi is one of Indonesia’s most malaria-prone provinces, according to a senior health official. More details.

Tanzania on high alert for polio
In Tanzania, officials in the border region of Kagera are monitoring border entry points following an outbreak of polio in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Congo-Brazzaville has reported 409 cases and 169 deaths since October. More details.
Advice to travellers: Despite the generally low risk for travellers, the recurring outbreaks of polio in central Africa are of concern to Australians visiting the region. Childhood diseases are common in both developing and developed countries. Regardless of their destination, we recommend all travellers to check their immunisation status for polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and mumps as part of their pre-travel medical preparations.

Bird flu in wake of floods
In Vietnam, bird flu (avian influenza, H5N1) is widespread in Nghe An and Ha Tinh, two northern provinces affected by flooding earlier this month. The outbreak has promoted the culling of chickens at breeding farms. More details.
Advice to travellers: There is little risk for travellers visiting are as affected by avian influenza. However, they should avoid contact with chickens and birds in live animal markets and poultry farms, and any free-ranging or caged poultry. Read more on bird flu.

Spain enforces measles vaccination
Authorities propose to make measles vaccination compulsory following an outbreak in the Spanish-controlled territory of Granada. More details.

Water supply suspected as source of parasite
In central Sweden, cryptosporidium has hospitalised about a dozen people in the city of Ostersund, with scores more reporting symptoms of the parasitic disease. The city’s water supply is the suspected source of the outbreak and residents are boiling their drinking water to kill the parasites. More details.

Travelvax Australia compiles this weekly bulletin of global travel health alerts, risk assessments and advice for the information of Australian travellers and the travel industry. Please contact our travel health advisory service on 1300 360 164 for broad destination-specific advice and vaccination recommendations. Recommended vaccines, travel medication, trip-specific advice and accessories are available during a medical consultation with a travel health professional at any of Travelvax Australia’s 32 clinics. Visit our website or call 1300 360 164 for details.


Source = Travelvax
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