Measles virus circulates; Dengue cases up 20%; 2 more YF cases in SC

The measles virus continues to circulate widely after spreading from São Paulo state in April last year. A Feb 28 PAHO update reports that cases are now on the decrease after reaching 21 other states and the Federal District – this year there have been 2,184 suspected cases from 11 states (Alagoas, Bahía, Minas Gerais, Pará, Paraná, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, São Paulo, and Sergipe). The report also contains more details relating to last week’s post on the outbreak in Argentina: The vast majority of cases were either residents of Buenos Aires Province or the city of Buenos Aires and many were either unvaccinated (63 percent) or incompletely vaccinated (10 percent). In other measles news, the last measles case reported in Samoa was in mid-January (information as of Feb 28) and the country is now in a ‘response and recovery phase‘, while American Samoa’s most recent measles case was on Jan 27. In Africa, measles infections have sickened 73 people and killed two infants in four districts of Liberia’s SE Grand Kru County - Forpoh, Dorbor, Jloh and Barclayville.

IN THE first five weeks of 2020 and with weeks more of the peak rainy season to go, dengue fever cases rose by almost 20 percent over the same period last year, with 94,149 probable cases registered across the country. The three states with the highest incidence of dengue are Acre, Mato Grosso do Sul and Paraná.  

SANTA Catarina’s Vale do Itajaí (or ‘European Valley’) is the location of two more yellow fever cases reported in the media this week – a second case from Pomerode and the other from Indaial, 20kms to its SW. None of the six patients so far identified were vaccinated against yellow fever.

Advice for travellers

Yellow fever virus is a mosquito-borne disease found in tropical and subtropical areas in Central/South 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.

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.