Health Alerts
Australia: New measles case in Qld

In Queensland, another measles case has brought the state’s total to 18 this year. The latest case is the 8th in the south eastern Ipswich district. Read more.

Advice for travellers: Measles is a highly contagious virus and outbreaks occur in both developing and developed countries. Australia has now recorded 65 infections this year – almost all travel-acquired or related. While generally a mild disease, measles can also result in severe illness, and occasionally death. Travelvax recommends that Australians travelling overseas check their immunisation status for measles and other childhood diseases (diphtheria, whooping cough, mumps, and polio) 6 weeks before departure.

Barbados: Dengue death

Dengue killed a 43-year-old man this week, the island’s first fatality from the virus this year. This year total of 511 cases is three times the number for same period last year. Read more.

Advice for travellers: Dengue continues to spread throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Pacific, including northern Australia. Once again, we remind Australians visiting tropical and sub-tropical destinations – especially where active outbreaks are occurring – to take measures to avoid mosquito bites. Apply an insect repellent containing an effective active ingredient, such as DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, to exposed skin when outdoors during the day, and cover up with long-sleeved tops, long pants, and shoes and socks around dawn and dusk, as well as other times when the day-time feeding Aedes mosquitoes are active.

China: Dengue in south

In southern Guangzhou (Guangdong Province), the dengue tally has risen from 47 to 108 in the 10 days to  Sept 29, mainly in the village of Fangcun. Cooler temperatures are expected to see activity decrease. Read more.

Costa Rica: Dengue still climbing

The national dengue tally continues to climb. To Sept 29, 38,497 cases had been confirmed, including 111 severe infections, but no deaths. The areas most affected include Limon, Guanacaste, and Puntarenas. Read more.

Dominican Republic: Dengue nears 10,000 mark

There have been almost 10,000 dengue cases this year. Authorities say dengue deaths are increasing but have not released the number of victims this year. Read more. 

Ghana: Rabies deaths

Four rabies deaths have led to calls for the emergency vaccination of pets in the Ashanti Region. Read more.

Advice for travellers: Rabies is endemic in Ghana, where vaccine and rabies immunoglobulin, which is used in initial post-exposure treatment, are in short supply. Vaccination should be considered for long-stay travellers and expatriates living in areas with a significant risk of exposure. Read more on how to avoid rabies and the steps to take if bitten by an animal. Read more

Honduras: Dengue escalating

1400 new dengue cases in the 10 days to Sept 29 have taken the national count to 26,747, including 24 deaths. Trujillo and Campamento have been the municipalities hardest hit. Read more.

India: Delhi, 4 states battle dengue; Doubt over malaria figures

Delhi is facing a dengue epidemic. Dengue infection has now killed 3 people among 1962 infections to Sept 30, including 395 over 3 days. In the city’s north-west, the Rohini district is a hot spot for the virus, with almost 400 cases and several suspected deaths.

DENGUE has also been reported in Jaipur (Rajasthan State), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Patiala district (Punjab), and in Lucknow, Kanpur and Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh).

OFFICIAL national figures put malaria cases due to P.falciparum at 477,600 cases and 185 deaths to the end of August, although observers say they are incomplete and understated. Officially, just over half (533,6350) of last year’s 1,066,981 malaria cases were attributed to P. falciparum, resulting in 519 deaths. Read more.

Advice for travellers: Malaria is endemic year-round in rural and metropolitan areas, including major cities. Travellers should discuss the need for preventative medication during their pre-travel medical consultation. Call Travelvax on 1300 360 164 for further advice.

Mexico: Cholera in capital: Dengue fever update

There has been 2 cases of cholera in Mexico City and as many as 44 cases and 1 death in nearby Hildalgo State following torrential rain. The outbreak has prompted authorities to declare an emergency and intensify surveillance and monitoring of drinking water supplies. The cholera strain is identical to the one that has caused thousands of deaths in Haiti and the Dominican Republic in the past 3 years, as well as more recently in Cuba. Read more.

DENGUE continues in at least 4 states. Most of Baja California Sur’s 214 cases have been in the municipalities of San Jose del Cabo (97 cases) and Cabo San Lucas (84). Others to report outbreaks include Guerrero (1646 cases), San Luis Potosi (500), and Tabasco (4577 – declining). Read more

Pakistan: Polio rising as dengue levels rise

12 new cases of polio were reported in the past week, most in North Waziristan FATA. Read more.

DENGUE outbreaks are intensifying in Karachi (Sindh Province) and Swat (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). Read more.

Saudi Arabia: Jeddah’s dengue spreading

Authorities recorded 252 new dengue cases in Jeddah (Mecca Province) in the week to Sept 26. They say mosquitoes are breeding in construction sites as well as in the swimming pools and fountains of abandoned homes. Read more.

Senegal: Cholera threat looms

The threat of cholera was hanging over Dakar this week as the capital faced a severe water shortage. Damage to a pipeline serving almost half the city has led to a dramatic decline in hygiene and sanitation, according to aid agencies. Read more.

South Sudan: Polio emergency

Three polio cases in the states of Northern Bahr el Ghazal (2 cases) and Eastern Equatoria (1) have prompted an emergency vaccination program involving UN agencies. The country has been on alert since the disease emerged in the Horn of Africa, first in Somalia in May and later in Kenya and Ethiopia. Read more.

Turkey: 6000 measles cases; Rise in leishmaniasis

Almost 6000 cases of measles have been recorded this year – a 20-fold increase on 2012. A slight rise in the number of cutaneous leishmaniasis cases, known locally as Allepo Boil, has been attributed to the influx of refugees from Syria. Read more.

Uganda: Guinea worm suspected

A suspected case of guinea worm is under investigation in Kitgum. If confirmed it would be the first case since WHO declared Uganda free of the disease a decade ago. Read more.

Advice for travellers: Endemic in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Mali and Chad, guinea worm or dracunculiasis is considered a low risk for travellers. It is transmitted by drinking stagnant water contaminated with tiny water fleas that carry infective guinea worm larvae. Infection causes a painful blister, usually on the lower leg. If left untreated, 1 or more worms emerge about a year later. Read more.

Ukraine: Rabies alert

World Rabies Day (Sept 28) prompted authorities to announce 3 cases in the Donetsk, Kharkiv and Kyiv regions this year. On average, 120,000 – 140,000 Ukranians seek medical attention for animal bites each year. Read more.

United States of America: Florida deaths; New plague cases in New Mexico; Measles tally grows

On the east coast, a fatal case of vibrio vulnificus last week was the ninth among 26 recent cases in Florida, prompting a warning to local residents and tourists not to eat raw shellfish or expose open wounds to seawater. Read more about the outbreak and the disease.

In the west, a New Mexico man is the third case of bubonic plague in the state this year. Plague is a bacterial disease of rodents and is generally transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas, but can also be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, wildlife and pets. Read more.

16 states have reported measles in 2013. The national tally of cases is now 159 – almost all ‘imported’ by travellers. Read more