Health Alerts
  • Australia: Ross River spike warning

    Health authorities in Victoria are warning the public to take measures to avoid mosquito bites following a sharp rise in Ross River fever cases last year. The mosquito vectors that transmit the infection would be more prevalent outside Melbourne metropolitan areas and in the wake of heavy rains; testing of insects in Mildura, Moira and Barmah Forest has shown positive results for the virus. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Cases of Ross River occur throughout Australia, including more temperate southern states. Travellers visiting areas of Australia affected by recent flooding or continuing rain should take measures to prevent mosquito bites. Use a personal effective insect effective ingredient such as DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus when outdoors and wear long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing – especially at dawn and dusk, the times of day when RRV-carrying insects are most active.

    Brazil: Summer mozzie threat forecast

    This summer could be a bad one for the insect-borne disease chikungunya, with half of Rio de Janeiro’s residents likely to be infected according to the city’s new health secretary. Figures for 2016 show that there were 31,900 cases of Zika, 25,500 of dengue fever and 13,982 of chikungunya – the West Zone of Rio, which takes in over half of the area of the city, was most affected. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Chikungunya infections continue to spread across the Caribbean and Americas. The disease has symptoms similar to dengue fever and is transmitted by day-time feeding Aedes mosquitoes. There is no vaccine or prevention medication; using an effective, tropical-strength repellent to avoid insect bites is the best form of protection. Read more about chikungunya

    Caribbean, Latin America: Chikungunya update

    In the last Pan American Health Organization chikungunya update for 2016, a huge rise in new confirmed and suspected cases (56,282 more) was mostly due to the 12 weeks’ of data provided by Brazil. Other countries adding to the total included: Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Colombia, Guatemala and Aruba. This week a relatively small increase in cases (108) included 20 cases each from Colombia and Costa Rica. Read more.

    China: More bird flu for mainland

    Human avian influenza infections have this week been reported in the provinces of Guizhou and Jiangxi, fuelling the anticipated rise in infection rates forecast for the winter months. According to a Flutrackers post, the 2 latest cases take the total in this surge of infections to 21. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: While bird flu is often fatal in humans, there has been no sustained person-to-person transmission. Infection occurs after contact with infected birds, which makes the disease a low risk for travellers. Australians travelling to a region where the disease is present or an outbreak is occurring should avoid contact with birds or poultry in marketplaces, wash their hands before and after preparing food, and observe strict personal hygiene. Read more on bird flu and how to avoid it.

    Denmark: Early flu season start

    Doctors are warning people suffering flu symptoms to stay at home. Influenza cases have reportedly doubled since mid-December, making it an early start of what is expected to be a drawn-out season. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Seasonal flu is the most common vaccine-preventable travel-related illness because it is a potential risk during every stage of the journey. Whether you are travelling within Australia or overseas, Travelvax recommends vaccination for all travellers over 6 months.

    Indonesia: Mosquito memento for 2 Bali tourists

    Two tourists who had visited Bali last month have been diagnosed with chikungunya fever following their return home to Taiwan. Read more.

    Mexico: Plans to tackle Aedes menace

    The Mexican government is allocating funds towards the effort to beat the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the vector of dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika virus. End of year statistics for the country show that there had been over 6, 921 cases of Zika (highest incidence in the states of Veracruz, Guerrero, Yucatan and Chiapas), 722 of chikungunya (Baja California Sur, Veracruz and Tamaulipas) and dengue fever (Guerrero, Veracruz and Jalisco). Read more (translate from Spanish).

    Nepal: Rabies risk at temples

    A doctor at a Kathmandu hospital has been reported in a ProMED post stating that the rate of monkey bites at the popular Pashupati temple has increased markedly recently, with as many as 40 recorded over a recent 2-day period. Read more

    Advice for travellers: Rabies is present in most countries and all travellers should be aware of the importance of avoiding contact with wild and domestic animals – especially dogs, the main source of infection. If bitten, urgent post-exposure treatment is required. Vaccination recommendations are itinerary-specific but include those travellers planning to live in, or travel extensively through, rural areas. Read more on rabies

    Nigeria: Lassa outbreak officially confirmed

    A health threat warning has been raised in the state of Ogun in response to the outbreak of Lassa fever. The heightened alert enables medical facilities to prepare for possible cases and sets in motion public awareness campaigns on the increased risk of transmission. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Lassa fever is an acute viral illness that occurs in West Africa, notably in Nigeria, Guinea, and Liberia. As many as 300,000 cases and 5000 deaths occur each year. However, Lassa is a remote risk for travellers. Rodents shed the virus in urine and droppings and it is spread between humans through direct contact with the blood, urine, faeces, or other bodily secretions of an infected person. Read more about Lassa fever.

    Peru: Rabies spike in La Convención

    At least 100 people in the province of La Convención in Cusco region have been bitten by rabid bats and are undergoing post-exposure treatment. The region, which lies adjacent to the popular tourist areas of Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes and Ollantaytambo, contains part of the protected Yungas ecoregion. Read more.

    Saudi Arabia: More MERS cases for new year

    In the most recent update from the Ministry of Health, 3 new MERS cases have been reported and there had been another 3 deaths – only one of which was in a new case. Read more.

    Sri Lanka: 2016 dengue update

    Dengue fever figures released by the government reveal Colombo district (15,303 cases) has the highest case count for 2016, followed by Gampaha (6,202) and Kandy (3,869). Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Dengue is spread by two types of Aedes mosquitoes. Both breed close to dwellings, are found in shady areas and bite mainly during the daylight hours, making them difficult to avoid outdoors. Travellers should cover up with long-sleeved tops, long pants, and shoes and socks when mosquitoes are most active. Apply repellent containing an active ingredient, such as DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus when outdoors to all exposed skin. Read more about dengue fever and preventing insect bites.

    Tanzania: Lakeside cholera reported

    Cholera has broken out in Karema division, on the eastern side of Lake Tanganyika. At least 91 cases have been recorded with 3 deaths resulting. The outbreak started in early December and is believed to be caused by the lack of sanitation infrastructure. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Cholera is usually spread in contaminated water. For most short-stay travellers, the risk of infection is low. Australians travelling to regions where a cholera outbreak is occurring should adhere to strict personal hygiene guidelines and choose food and beverages with care. Read more about cholera

    United States of America: 10-year spike in mumps; Measles in LA

    Washington state’s ongoing mumps outbreak continues with several counties of its largest city, Seattle, affected. The total number of infections has now reached 129; King County has the most, followed by Pierce, Yakima and Spokane counties. Meanwhile there is some hope that the surge in mumps cases in NW Arkansas, with over 2,400 cases investigated, may be slowing. Local and state health departments continue to monitor the outbreak in Oklahoma that has had the greatest impact in Garfield, Kay and McCurtain counties. And in Texas, the case count is now over 50 from Johnson, Dallas, Collin, Denton, and Tarrant counties.  
    ELEVEN people have now been diagnosed with measles in the current outbreak affecting Los Angeles, and now an associated case has surfaced in Santa Barbara county. Investigations by health authorities have determined that most had not been vaccinated against the highly infectious disease. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: This ongoing outbreak of mumps highlights the importance of current immunisation against contagious childhood diseases, such as whooping cough (pertussis), diphtheria and measles for travel to any destination – be it a developed or developing country. Read more about mumps

    Yemen: Cholera situation deepens further

    There has been no improvement in the cholera outbreak touching the country. To Dec 28th over 12,700 suspected cases were recorded with 93 related deaths. Over half the cases were in the governates of Aden, Ibb, Ta’izz and Al Hudaydah but another 10 governates are also affected. Read more.

    Zimbabwe: Typhoid spreads, more cases expected

    Over three-quarters of the typhoid cases reported in the country recently have been in the capital Harare. Health authorities say they are ready to deal with any new cases, but warn that the current heavy rains and lack of clean water means that more infections are expected. They have also cautioned of the risk for other water-borne infections such as cholera and diarrhoea. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Typhoid is endemic in many developing regions, although it generally presents a low risk for short-stay travellers staying in western-style accommodation. Vaccination is generally recommended for those staying or travelling extensively in rural areas, as well as for adventurous eaters; some medical conditions can increase the risk of infection. All travellers visiting endemic areas should follow safe food and water guidelines, and adopt strict personal hygiene practices.

  • Bolivia: Zika infections in 3 provinces

    A total of 19 new confirmed cases of Zika virus infection have been reported from the neighbouring departments of Pando and Beni in the country’s north. Public campaigns to clear standing water from around dwellings and remove other mosquito breeding sites are being carried out in the 3 Zika-affected provinces of Santa Cruz, Beni and Pando. Read more (translate from Spanish).

    Advice for travellers: Zika’s symptoms include a rash, pain in the joints, and the eye condition, conjunctivitis lasting 4-7 days. Long-term ill-effects are rare, although the joint pain may linger for weeks, even months. Like dengue and chikungunya, Zika is spread by Aedes mosquitoes which bite by day and are found in urban setting, including leafy gardens and outdoor restaurants – even in upmarket hotels and resorts. Transmission of Zika virus has also occurred during pregnancy, breastfeeding, sexually and also through blood or blood products. Travellers should take particular care to avoid being bitten just after sunrise and just before sunset, the main feeding time for Aedes mosquitoes. All travellers, but particularly pregnant women or those planning pregnancy, should seek medical advice before travel to Zika-affected areas. Read information on smartraveller (DFAT).  

    Brazil: Third wave of mozzie diseases feared

    After successive seasons of dengue and Zika virus outbreaks, authorities in Rio de Janeiro fear this summer will be the turn for another infection transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, chikungunya. For the first 50 weeks of the year, over 15,260 suspected cases were recorded across the state, compared with only 105 in 2015. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Outbreaks of chikungunya infections continue to spread across the Caribbean and Americas. Like dengue fever, it is transmitted by day-time feeding Aedes mosquitoes. There is no vaccine or prevention medication; using an effective, tropical-strength repellent to avoid insect bites is the best form of protection. Read more about chikungunya. 

    China: Hong Kong, mainland report more human bird flu; Smog alert issued

    News of Hong Kong’s first human H7N9 bird flu case for this season was released this week. The 75 year-old male, who has denied contact with poultry or wet markets, had visited the town of Changping in central Guangdong province recently and was diagnosed on his return. Read more. And on the mainland, a further 6 cases, 2 fatal, have been reported from 3 provinces: Anhui, Jiangsu and Fujian. Read more
    HAZARDOUS air quality in many areas of northern and central China has caused the closure of schools and factories during a red smog alert this week. It also resulted in large numbers of Beijing children to require hospital treatment for breathing problems. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: There are several strains of bird flu and while the virus can be fatal, infection generally poses a low risk for travellers – even for those heading to a region where the disease is present or an outbreak is occurring. Travellers should avoid contact with birds or poultry in marketplaces, wash hands thoroughly before and after preparing food, and observe strict personal hygiene. Read more on bird flu and how to avoid it. 

    India: Hotels harbouring mozzies; Rabies action plan for Maharashtra; Kerala’s Hep A spike

    The discovery of malaria-carrying mosquitoes in the eaves, gutters and in puddles on the terraces of hotels in central Mangaluru has caused a scare for tourists and authorities alike. A new software system is being used by city and health officials to identify Anopheles mosquito breeding sites so eradication measures can be put in place. The city is a popular beach town and ancient trading port situated on the Arabian Sea. Read more
    Authorities in the state of Maharashtra plan on implementing more animal control measures targeting stray dogs as figures on the incidence of dog bites in Mumbai were released recently. Nearly 330,000 people were potentially exposed to rabies through dog bites, however it is in the state’s 3rd largest city of Nagpur where the toll is highest – of the 56,126 dog bite victims over the past 6 years, 106 have died from rabies infection. Read more
    THE search is on for the origin of a hepatitis A outbreak in the town of Nellikuzhi, around 45kms north-east of Kerala’s capital of Kochi. To date, while only 8 cases have been confirmed, there are a total of 303 suspected cases. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Hepatitis A (HAV) is a vaccine-preventable viral disease passed on to humans by faecally contaminated food and water, or by handling everyday items. It is one of the most common infections in travellers and is a significant risk in most developing countries where sanitation and hygiene are lacking. A course of hepatitis A vaccine offers immunity that is 99%-plus effective and protects for 20-30 years. Travellers should also follow these guidelines for safe food and water

    Latin America: Trickle of chikungunya cases reported

    Only 2 countries updated their new chikungunya case numbers (with slight increases) to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) - Colombia (26 confirmed cases) and Mexico (6). Read more (EW 50).

    Malaysia: More malaria detected in Perak

    A second Orang Asli community in the state of Perak has been hit by a malaria outbreak but, unlike the Gerik cases, this one has been caused by the P. falciparum parasite. To date, 6 people from Pos Poi have required hospitalisation for treatment. Read more.

    Nigeria: Lassa fever again in Ogun

    Early in September, the SW state of Ogun was declared free of Lassa fever, but that changed this week with news reports of the deaths of 2 people from Lassa in the state’s capital of Abeokuta – one a health worker, the other a mortuary attendant. Both are believed to have had recent contact with a patient suspected of having the haemorrhagic infection. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Lassa fever is an acute viral illness that occurs in West Africa, notably in Nigeria, Guinea, and Liberia. As many as 300,000 cases and 5000 deaths occur each year. However, Lassa is a remote risk for travellers. Rodents shed the virus in urine and droppings and it is spread between humans through direct contact with the blood, urine, faeces, or other bodily secretions of an infected person. Read more about Lassa fever. 

    Romania: WHO consulted in battle against measles

    The Ministry of Health has liaised with international health agencies to implement a measles vaccination campaign targeting infants of 9 months of age. Nearly 800 more measles infections have been detected since a health department update in mid-October taking the yearly total to 1,725 ; the death toll now sits at 7, 3 of those were infants under the age of 12 months. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Measles is a highly contagious virus and can cause serious illness in people of all ages. Most of the rising number of cases reported in Australia are linked to overseas travel - both developing and developed countries. Travelvax Australia recommends travellers check their immunisation status for measles and other childhood diseases such as diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis) and mumps 6 weeks before departure. 

    Saudi Arabia: MERS update – 5 new cases, 3 deaths

    Three new MERS cases were reported on Dec 20th: 2 men (from Makkah and Riyadh) and a woman from Taif (also in Makkah region) and on the following day, 2 more from Mecca – one is described as a household contact of the first. The Ministry of Health has also announced the deaths this week of 3 previously reported cases, all of whom had pre-existing medical conditions. Read more.

    Singapore: Dengue lingers, but Zika receding

    A second ‘red’ dengue cluster has been added this week – in the area of Serangoon Stadium – with a further 7 areas classified as yellow (fewer than 10 cases reported). In the latest update on the National Environment Agency’s dengue webpage, the total case count since Jan 3rd this year has just tipped over the 13,000 mark. Read more. According to the government’s Zika website, no new cases have been reported since the week of Dec 4-10 when a single case was recorded. The total still stands at 457 Zika virus infections. Read more.

    South Korea: Unseasonal flu surge hits schools

    All school children may get an early mark on the upcoming holidays as authorities try to deal with a flu outbreak among students. While not as severe in other sections of the community, a significant early increase in flu cases has already been seen. Read more.

    Uganda: Dry season sparks disease

    At least 16 confirmed cases of acute bacterial meningitis have been reported from Nagaseke in the country’s central region. December is the beginning of the dry season, a peak time for transmission of the infection. A vaccination campaign is planned for the wider area. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Meningococcal meningitis is an acute bacterial disease transmitted from person-to-person by coughing and sneezing. Risk factors include extensive travel in crowded conditions or extended contact with local people in crowded places. Africa’s ‘meningitis belt’ is a region where meningitis outbreaks occur in the dry season (Dec-April) and just prior to the rainy season (May-June). If you plan to visit this area, call Travelvax Australia’s free travel health advisory service (1300 360 164 - toll-free for landlines) for further advice. Read more about Men. meningitis.

    United States of America: Texas, Arkansas mumps persist

    North Texas continues to report mumps cases, with a further spread of the infection from Johnson County to Dallas, Collin, Denton and Tarrant counties. To date at least 50 cases have been reported but authorities are hoping that the worst is over. Read more. Arkansas remains the hotspot for mumps in the country with 2,270 suspected and confirmed cases reported now, mostly from the north-west counties of Benton, Carroll, Cleburne, Conway, Crawford, Garland, Faulkner, Madison, Pulaski, Sevier, Washington, and White. Read more.

    Vietnam: Floods bring disease risk in central districts; Zika cases uptick in HCMC

    Flooding in the central provinces has caused authorities to issue warnings on the need for extra hygiene precautions. Bình Định Province has been hardest-hit, but the popular Hoi An has also suffered flooding and at a time when the dry, cooler climate is attracting more tourists. Read more
    UP to 10 new Zika cases are being reported in Ho Chi Minh City each week and Bình Thạnh District is still leading the case count with 28 of the 141 cases to date. Read more.

    Yemen: Cholera cases tip 10,000

    The ongoing cholera outbreak has now caused over 10,000 cases and 92 deaths, with over two-thirds of those in the governorates of Aden, Al Bayda’a, Al Hudaydah, Ibb and Ta’izz. Local and international relief bodies are working to treat the ill and prevent further spread. Read more

  • Canada: Uni students hit in mumps hike

    Adults in the 17 to 29 years age group – many of them students of universities in Winnipeg and Manitoba - make up the majority of the 61 mumps cases reported in the central province of Manitoba from early Sept to Dec 8th. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: This and other ongoing outbreaks of mumps (see USA posting) highlight the importance of current immunisation against contagious childhood diseases, such as whooping cough (pertussis), diphtheria and measles for travel to any destination – be it a developed or developing country. Read more about mumps.

    China: Bird flu season warning, Macau’s first H7N9 case

    Warnings over the increased incidence of bird flu during winter months has accompanied the latest news of 5 more avian influenza A(H7N9) cases in humans on the Chinese mainland. All cases are in men: 4 from the province of Jiangsu (2 residents of Kunshan and 1 each from Nantong and Suzhou) and 1 from Fuzhou, Fujian province. Most had been exposed to poultry in markets. Read more. A poultry stall holder at a market in Macau has become the territory’s first case of H7N9 avian influenza, according to a posting by Avian Flu Diary. The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, has warned that the ability of the H7N9 virus to cause severe disease in humans while not producing symptoms in birds is cause for concern – in other avian influenza strains, sickness in birds does give some warning of an outbreak or potential for transmission. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: There are several strains of bird flu and while the virus can be fatal, infection generally poses a low risk for travellers – even for those heading to a region where the disease is present or an outbreak is occurring. Travellers should avoid contact with birds or poultry in marketplaces, wash hands thoroughly before and after preparing food, and observe strict personal hygiene. Read more on bird flu and how to avoid it.

    Democratic Republic of Congo: Yellow fever rekindles

    Seven confirmed cases of yellow fever have been detected in Sandoa (6) and Kasaji (1) in the southern province of Lualaba, bordering Angola to the south. Vaccination campaigns were carried out in the province 3 months ago as part of a drive to end the large outbreak that had affected both the DRC and Angola, but it is feared that people living in remote areas may not have been vaccinated. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Yellow fever virus is a mosquito-borne disease found in tropical and subtropical areas in parts of South/Central America and Africa. While it can be severe, yellow fever infection is a very rare in Australian travellers. However, under the International Health Regulations (IHR), proof of vaccination may be required of any traveller entering or leaving an area at risk of yellow fever transmission. Read more about yellow fever.

    Egypt: Travel alert for high tourist season

    The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has posted an alert on the smartraveller website advising travellers to reconsider travel to Egypt, and to avoid completely areas such as the north Sinai, due to the high possibility of imminent terrorist attacks in areas popular with tourists. 

    Europe: Flu situation update

    The latest World Health Organization update on global influenza (taking in data up to Nov 27th) specifies northern parts of Europe as experiencing an uptick in cases, but only slight rises for East Asia, North America, Iran and Sri Lanka in South Asia, Vietnam in SE Asia and Morocco & Ghana in Africa. In a separate Spanish language news report, a statement has been issued by a Puerto Rican health department official declaring a flu epidemic on the island. Read more (translate from Spanish).

    Kenya: Cholera in Tana River County

    A national strike by health workers is worsening an already serious situation in Tana River County, north of Mombasa. Cholera infections have hit people in parts of Garsen Town and there are no doctors and nurses at local hospitals to care for them. To date there have been 2 deaths and many more are critically ill. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Cholera is usually spread in contaminated water. For most short-stay travellers, the risk of infection is low. Australians travelling to regions where a cholera outbreak is occurring should adhere to strict personal hygiene guidelines and choose food and beverages with care. Read more about cholera. 

    South America, Latin America: Dengue, chikungunya, malaria data updated

    Sporadic reporting of dengue fever cases indicates that published data from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is not current for many countries in the region. New figures for the 2-week period from Nov 23rd to Dec 12th show increases in dengue cases for Ecuador (609 new confirmed cases), Colombia (538) and Venezuela (257). Read more.
    As with the PAHO dengue updates, many countries have not provided new data for chikungunya infections, but of those nations that did, Guatemala had the highest count (133), followed by Bolivia (31). Read more (EW 49) 
    The WHO released the World Malaria Report 2016 this week, summarising the global disease burden and advances made in reducing malaria incidence; however Latin America figures indicate that the situation has worsened in Venezuela and, to a lesser extent, in Peru and Nicaragua. Read more

    Advice for travellers: Dengue and chikungunya are spread by daytime-feeding Aedes mosquitoes and travellers should avoid bites by applying an insect repellent containing an effective active ingredient, such as DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, to exposed skin during the day. In addition, cover up with long-sleeved tops, long pants, and shoes and socks around dawn and dusk, when the mosquitoes are most active.

    Malaysia: More malaria for Gerik, Perak

    The case count for the Plasmodium vivax malaria outbreak in Gerik (Perak state) posted on Nov 24th has risen to 129, with 16 people requiring hospitalisation. Read more.

    Philippines: Dengue spike leads to alert

    A dengue alert is now in place in the southern Mindanao province of South Cotabato as officials deal with a near 100 percent increase in infections over last year’s figures. The death toll from dengue-related illnesses has also increased to 24 – mostly from the municipalities of Koronadal, Tupi, Polomolok, Surallah, Banga town, Tantangan, Norala and Lake Sebu. Read more.

    Saudi Arabia: WHO releases new MERS review, local case count update

    The WHO has updated its MERS Co-V risk assessment (the last one was in mid-2015): Many of the cases identified since the last assessment were acquired in a healthcare setting, with the non-specific nature of the initial symptoms often to blame for missed early diagnosis and isolation. Other infections have been through direct or indirect contact with dromedary camels, a known risk factor. Additional information includes: Approx. 80 percent of cases have been in Saudi Arabia; males aged 60 and over with underlying medical conditions have a higher risk of infection, severe disease and death; the highest risk of infection occurs in people who have regular contact with dromedary camels (farmers, abattoir workers & shepherds) and health workers caring for MERS-CoV patients. Read the WHO MERS-CoV Global Summary and risk assessment here. The Ministry of Health has released details of the latest MERS case, a 72- year old man from Taif in Mecca province who had direct contact with camels. He brings the country’s total to 1,508 cases with 625 deaths. Read more.

    Singapore: Further Zika case, new ‘red’ dengue cluster

    The cumulative total of Zika virus cases in the island-state now stands at 457, with one more case added this week by the National Environment Agency. Read more.  Dengue case numbers continue to decline but 12 transmission clusters remain active, one is classified as red meaning it has produced >10 cases. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Zika’s symptoms include a rash, pain in the joints, and the eye condition, conjunctivitis lasting 4-7 days. Long-term ill-effects are rare, although the joint pain may linger for weeks, even months. Like dengue and chikungunya, Zika is spread by Aedes mosquitoes which bite by day and are found in urban setting, including leafy gardens and outdoor restaurants – even in upmarket hotels and resorts. Transmission of Zika virus has also occurred during pregnancy, breastfeeding, sexually and also through blood or blood products. Travellers should take particular care to avoid being bitten just after sunrise and just before sunset, the main feeding time for Aedes mosquitoes. All travellers, but particularly pregnant women or those planning pregnancy, should seek medical advice before travel to Zika-affected areas. Read information on smartraveller (DFAT).

    Somalia: Children bear brunt of measles outbreak

    Children under 5 have been hardest hit in an outbreak of measles that has been running in the port city of Kismayo since September. To date, 419 cases have been recorded. Read more.

    Thailand: Malaria alert issued for 9 provinces

    Travellers to the provinces of Kanchanaburi, Tak, Songkhla, Narathiwat, Ubon Ratchathani, Mae Hong Son, Si Sa Ket, Chiang Rai and Pattani are cautioned to be aware of the malaria risk in those areas. The Department of Disease Control issued the alert while announcing that 16,651 cases of malaria were detected in the country this year, over 5,000 of those were tourists. Read more.

    United States of America: Zika in Texas, Florida; Mumps numbers swell

    Investigations are underway into a further 4 locally-acquired cases of Zika virus infection in people who lived near to the first identified case in Brownsville, Texas. Read more. The US Centers of Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has issued a list of precautions advised for residents and visitors to Brownsville in view of the Zika notifications.  And in Florida, 2 more cases of locally-acquired Zika virus infection have been reported from Miami-Dade County this week, but health authorities have not revoked the closure of the final active virus transmission zone in the county. Precautions are still advised for residents and visitors. Read more
    A BROADENING of the mumps outbreak in the NW state of Washington has seen new cases found in neighbouring cities and counties. While only 12 cases are confirmed there are dozens more suspected in both King and Pierce Counties. Seattle, the capital of Washington state, lies in King County. The CDC has announced that this year’s mumps figures are the highest since 2006. Read more

    Vanuatu: Dengue numbers climbing

    A health official has warned that dengue fever cases will continue to occur, adding to the current 34 confirmed and 119 suspected cases. The capital Port Vila has seen the majority of the cases to date. Read more.

    Vietnam: Zika cases rise again

    A French language news report puts the Zika virus case count in Ho Chi Minh City to be 128 from 23 of the city’s districts. The districts most affected to date are: Binh Thanh, district 2, district 12 and Tan Phu. Only district 8 has been without cases. Read more.