Health Alerts
China: Hand, foot and mouth cases soaring

In Hong Kong, an increasing number of adults are among the 4200 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease this year. Experts blame a combination of humidity and low immunity to a new strain of the virus for this year’s spike. Read more.

Advice for travellers: Parents of young children should be aware of that seasonal epidemics of HFMD occur throughout Asia. The virus mainly affects young children and symptoms include fever, oral lesions, and rash on the hands, feet and buttocks. There is no vaccine or preventative medication, but good hand hygiene will greatly reduce the risk of infection. 

Colombia: Bolivar battles dengue

Cartagena (Bolivar Department) has reported 599 dengue infections, including 23 severe cases. Read more.

Cuba: Report names cholera hotspots

Some 678 cases of cholera have been recorded, according to a Pan American Health Organization report. The regions most affected are in the eastern provinces, Granma (where the epidemic began), Guantánamo and Santiago de Cuba; central Camagüey', and Havana. At least 3 people have died, although dissidents say the number is higher.

Guatemala: Cholera alert on border; Dengue cases near 7000

Four departments (states) bordering Mexico are on alert for cholera, according to a Spanish-language report. They include San Marcos (southeast), Huehuetenango (northeast), Quiché and Petén (both in the north).

THE national dengue count has reached 6846 to Sept 29. Read more

Honduras: Dengue now countrywide

Dengue is occurring in 293 of the nation’s 298 municipalities. The 3485 cases of severe dengue haemorrhagic fever reported to Sept 29 included 25 deaths. Read more

India: JE toll now 358, Delhi dengue at 10-year high; Mumbai hit by typhoid, malaria, dengue

The toll from Japanese encephalitis (JE) has risen to 358 people – mainly children – following 15 deaths in 3 days in Gorakhpur, in the far northern state of Uttar Pradesh. The mosquito-borne virus has killed an estimated 6500 children since the first case was diagnosed in 1978. Read more.

Delhi is nearing 3000 official dengue cases in 3 weeks, with many more unreported. It may be the highest October figure in a decade. In the past week, outbreaks were also reported in the following states: Uttar Pradesh (650 cases), Punjab (340), Haryana (383), Rajasthan (Jaipur – 105 hospitalised in 1 day), and Jammu-Kashmir (Samba district).

IN Mumbai, 167 typhoid cases in September was almost three times the number recorded in the same month last year. Typhoid occurs year-round, but cases peak during September as the monsoon rains recede. Around 900 cases of malaria and 168 of dengue fever were also reported. Read more

Advice for travellers: These outbreaks highlight the importance of taking effective prevention measures to avoid food-, water- and insect-borne diseases in India – even in major cities. Malaria is a year-round risk in urban and rural areas and travellers should discuss the need for prevention medication with a doctor experienced in travel medicine 6-8 weeks before departure. For further advice call Travelvax on 1300 360 164. 

Indonesia: Bird flu death in West Java

A fatal case of H5N1 bird flu in a 28-year-old man from Bekasi (West Java) is the second of the year. It brings the cumulative number of avian influenza cases in Indonesia since 2005 to 194 – 162 of them fatal, CIDRAP reports. Read more

Advice for travellers: Sporadic cases of bird flu poses a very low risk for most travellers, but visitors to Indonesia and other countries where cases occur should avoid birds or poultry at markets, and avoid handling birds, pigs, or other animals at farms. Personal hygiene is also important to avoid bird flu as well as respiratory and food- and water-borne illnesses. Read more on bird flu. Read more

Malaysia: KL leads dengue figures

The capital, Kuala Lumpur has been a hotspot for dengue, reporting just over 10,000 of the 21,453 cases officially recorded nationally to Sept 21. There have been 45 deaths. Read more.

Mexico: Cholera rises to 79 cases; Dengue outbreaks

The number of cholera cases has risen to 79, including 77 in Hildalgo State and the 2 reported last week in Mexico City. How the infection was introduced into Mexico is still unclear. To intercept potential cases among travellers, authorities are interviewing passengers arriving from Cuba and Haiti. Read more.

ALMOST 175,000 cases of dengue have been recorded to Oct 5. Hot spot states include Tamaulipas and Tabasco. States currently reporting outbreaks include Jalisco, Morelos, Nayarit, Quintana Roo, Tamaulipas, and Yucatan. Read more.

New Zealand: Hep A linked to travel

Health officials believe members of a local family who contracted Hepatitis A while travelling overseas have caused an outbreak that’s now seen 28 people infected in the past 6 months in Ashburton, a town in the Canterbury district. Five people have been hospitalised, including a baby. Read more.   

Nicaragua: Borders watch for cholera; Dengue claims 7

Nicaragua is on alert for cholera, strengthening epidemiological surveillance at its borders after outbreaks of (undiagnosed) acute diarrhoea were detected.

THE latest dengue tally has now exceeded 3500 cases, including 7 deaths. Read more.

Pakistan: Tick disease kills 4 butchers; 3 provinces battle dengue

Four butchers have died in the city of Attock (Punjab Province) after being infected with Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus [CCHF] virus. It’s believed that they handled meat from virus-infected sheep brought across the border from Afghanistan last month. Read more.

DENGUE continues in at least 3 provinces – Punjab (Ludhiana and Rawalpindi – increasing), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Swat district – 70 new cases), and Sindh (Karachi 1551 cases, 12 deaths - increasing.) Read more.

Advice for travellers: Despite its high mortality rate, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus presents a low risk to travellers. It is mainly transmitted by ticks that feed on infected livestock, with most human-to-human transmission resulting from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected persons. CCHF is endemic in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East, and Asia.

Paraguay: 2013 among worst ever for dengue

The national dengue total has now reached 151,396 cases, including 241 deaths. The epidemic is one of the worst in Latin America this year. Read more.

Philippines: Cotabato hit by dengue

In Central Mindanao, 9645 dengue infections and 49 deaths had been recorded to the end of September. Areas most affected included: North Cotabato (2902 cases, 11 deaths), South Cotabato (2328); GenSantos City (2061, 19), Saranggani (1667, 11). Read more.

Saudi Arabia: MERS toll rises to 58

Six cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Riyadh have taken the global count to 136 cases with 58 deaths. Aged 14 – 79 years, five of the 6 have been hospitalised. Read more.

Singapore: Sixth dengue death

Dengue claimed its sixth victim of 2013 as the city-state experienced a surge of 444 cases in the first week of October. Singapore has recorded almost 17,400 cases this year, more than 5 times last year’s figure. Read more.

United Kingdom: Measles waning despite Wales cases

Measles continues to decline. 21 cases in August took the year’s total to 1368. Read more.

IN Wales, 2 school students diagnosed with measles have raised fears of more cases just 3 months after the country’s biggest outbreak. Read more

United States of America: Rabies in schoolyard

In Albuquerque, 6 middle school students have begun precautionary post-exposure treatment for rabies after handling a rabies-infected bat at their school. Read more.