Measles outbreaks ongoing; Schistosomiasis treatment for high risk areas

More than 650 suspected cases of measles have been reported from two counties on opposite sides of Kenya, Garissa in the east and West Pokot – this outbreak has been ongoing since Oct 2019. Vaccination campaigns for measles and polio are planned for outreach visits in the areas. While in Nigeria’s NE state of Borno, in one 7-day period in late May 600 suspected measles cases and 78 cumulative associated deaths were reported across four local government areas. Read more

A LOCAL NEWS source has reported a new program involving a Kenya/UK partnership which will provide free treatment medications for people living in regions of high prevalence for schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis: Lamu, Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Tana River, Kwale and Mombasa. Estimates put the number of Kenyans infected with Schistsomiasis at six million (15 million more are at risk).

Advice for travellers

Schistosomiasis or bilharzia is caused by a parasite which is released into fresh water by host snails. It burrows into the skin of people who swim or wade in rivers, streams and lakes containing the snail. With the rise in eco-tourism and adventure travel, increasing numbers of tourists are contracting schistosomiasis, according to a WHO fact sheet. Around 10% of travellers exposed to contaminated water will be infected. No vaccine or prevention medication is available, but schistosomiasis is treatable – especially if diagnosed early. Read more on the risk for travellers and how to prevent infection.

Before you travel, call Travelvax Australia’s telephone advisory service on 1300 360 164 (toll-free from landlines) for country-specific advice and information. You can also make an appointment at your nearest Travelvax clinic to obtain vaccinations, medication to prevent or treat illness, and accessories for your journey.