Health Alerts
  • Bolivia: Flu surges in east

    Influenza infections have escalated in the lowlands department of Santa Cruz, leading the government to institute a vaccination campaign aimed at high risk individuals. An outbreak alert was issued in early May and, by the end of the month, there had been ‘5,334 suspected cases, 1,428 positive cases and 23 deaths’. Influenza viruses A(H1N1) and B have been detected most often. Read more 

    Advice for travellers: Seasonal flu is the most common vaccine-preventable travel-related illness: it’s likely to be found aboard aircraft, in crowded airport terminals, and at your destination. Vaccination is highly recommended and travellers should also avoid close contact with people showing flu-like symptoms, and thoroughly washing hands using soap and water after using the toilet and before eating. Alcohol wipes are a convenient alternative if soap and water is not available. Read more about influenza.

    Democratic Republic of Congo: EVD spread ‘largely contained’

    From the most recent health department update on the Ebola Virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Equateur province: ‘A total of 61 cases of haemorrhagic fever were reported in the region, including 38 confirmed, 14 probable and 9 suspected.’ There are three new suspected cases in Bikoro; a total of 28 deaths have been reported (14 of those were confirmed cases of EVD). An earlier World Health Organization (WHO) report notes ‘cautious optimism’ but continues, ‘attention is now focused on Iboko Health Zone, especially remote communities in Itipo health area, where the last confirmed case developed symptoms on 2 June 2018 and was confirmed on 6 June 2018.’

    Advice for travellers: Ebola is a severe viral haemorrhagic fever found in humans and other primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). It spreads through families and friends in close contact with blood and infectious secretions of people with obvious symptoms and, as such, presents a low risk to tourists to the affected countries. Read more about Ebola virus disease.

    El Salvador: Typhoid strikes in centre, west

    A 'localised' outbreak of typhoid fever is underway in 26 towns and cities of the departments of Santa Ana, La Libertad and San Salvador, including the capital San Salvador. A senior public health official announced there had been 644 suspected cases of typhoid. Read more (translation required). And in Costa Rica, a rise in the incidence of malaria in the neighbouring countries of Nicaragua and Panama has led to the declaration of an alert which will allow for early detection of new cases. Over 20 nationals have returned to Costa Rica suffering from malaria, but the concern is greatest for the potential of spread to lowland areas harbouring the mosquito vector when infected individuals return home. Nicaragua has recently experienced a large outbreak of malaria, with more than 10,000 cases recorded. 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 itinerary specific, but is generally recommended for those staying or travelling extensively in rural areas, as well as for adventurous eaters. All travellers visiting endemic areas should follow safe food and water guidelines, and adopt strict personal hygiene practices. Read more about typhoid fever.

    Fiji: Men. meningitis summary to June 4

    There are just over two weeks to run in the national meningococcal C vaccination campaign aimed at immunising all children and adolescents aged from one to 19 years. In a summary of the situation up to June 4th, the Dept. of Health and Medical Services announced there had been ‘an average of 3.38 suspected cases per week in the last 4 weeks’ and ‘a total of 71 cases from January 1st to June 4th, 2018. Of these, 27 are laboratory confirmed, 7 probable and 37 suspected cases (WHO case definitions)’. Read more

    Advice for travellers: Advice on the prevention of meningococcal infection, as stated on the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services website, includes: Practicing good hygiene such as covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and washing hands; don’t share utensils, cups/glasses, drinks at social gatherings, cigarettes, or kava bowls. If planning travel to Fiji, discuss whether vaccination against meningococcal meningitis would be appropriate for your itinerary with your travel doctor. Read more about Men. meningitis.

    India: Disease uptick from monsoon rains

    The reports of mosquito-borne disease are ramping up. This week, dengue infections are rising in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar (Odisha), Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), Kasargod (Kerala) and Mumbai (Maharashtra), while Japanese encephalitis infections have been reported in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) and in the state of Assam. Contaminated ice used at a private function for up to 2,000 people, has led to at least 84 cases of viral hepatitis in Kozhikode, Kerala. No indication of which faecal-orally transmitted virus, Hep A or E, was responsible for the contamination. The ice is sold by several factories and allegedly made with inadequate attention to hygienic techniques. Read more 

    Advice for travellers: A mosquito-borne virus, JE is usually found in many part of Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and China, although cases also occur in Indonesia and PNG. It is mainly found in rural areas around rice paddies where pigs, wading birds and humans live closely together, however it does also occur in or near cities. The risk to short-stay travellers who confine their travel to urban centres and use appropriate mosquito bite avoidance measures is low. The recommendations for vaccination are itinerary-specific. Read more on JE

    Kenya: Regional RVF threat

    More than 230 suspected cases and at least 13 deaths have now been recorded in the outbreak of Rift Valley fever (RVF) which started in the NE, in Wajir County. Several other counties are on alert because, as noted in a WHO situation report, ‘the ‘high volume of movement of cattle and people in this area increases the risk of further spread of the outbreak both within Kenya, and to neighbouring countries’. Rwanda has already reported livestock deaths caused by RVF and Tanzania has issued an alert. Advice from the WHO includes being fully aware of RVF risk factors.

    Liberia: Measles rife in region

    Since the beginning of the year, more than 3,000 measles cases and 14 deaths have been recorded from 13 counties - almost two-thirds of all cases were children aged nine years or younger. Liberia is just one of 13 African countries with ongoing measles outbreaks that have so far caused 175 deaths from 26,000 cases. Read more

    Advice for travellers: A highly contagious virus, measles occurs in developing and developed countries. While generally benign, infection can result in severe illness or death. 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.

    Mozambique: Tackling malaria toll

    Health officials in the capital Maputo are introducing new measures to stem the number of malaria deaths which have risen even while overall cases have decreased (over last year’s figures). There were 25 recorded deaths from a total of 11,227 cases of malaria in the first three months of this year. Read more

    Advice for travellers: For many travellers, Africa presents a significant malaria risk. Travellers can discuss their itinerary and the need for anti-malaria medication with a trained travel health professional at their nearest Travelvax clinic. For details call 1300 360 164. Read more about malaria

    Nigeria: Cholera now in central state

    There has been a reduction in cholera rates in the NE state of Adamawa, however, according to a WHO regional report, ‘the upcoming rainy season increases the risk of outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as cholera and hepatitis E, as well as an increase in vectors for malaria and other vector-borne diseases.’ The central state of Niger is now also reporting cholera cases, with eight districts affected. While no deaths have resulted, a local health worker stated that the ‘number of people with the symptoms is massive’. 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

    Philippines: Dengue in Luzon, Western Visayas

    Dengue fever case numbers have risen sharply over last year’s in the province of Cavite, situated on the south side of Manila Bay, Luzon. The three highest rating municipalities are Bacoor City, General Trias and Imus. Read more. In the region of Western Visayas, where the incidence of dengue infections has also risen, Cadiz City is one of five cities reporting dengue-related deaths. 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, or PMD when outdoors to all exposed skin. Read more about dengue fever and preventing insect bites.

    Thailand: Rains to generate more dengue

    With the onset of the rainy season, a public health official has stated that the monthly dengue fever count across the country could reach 10,000. There have already been almost 20,000 cases this year and 21 people have lost their lives to the viral illness. Read more. Elsewhere in the SE Asian region, in Laos, two southern provinces (Attapeu and Champassak) have topped the dengue reporting rates, with 477 and 166 cases respectively, while Vientiane has recorded 102 cases this year. At a national level, there have been nearly 1,100 dengue infections and two deaths. Read more. In neighbouring Cambodia, dengue cases are on the rise with the onset of the rainy season. By the end of May, there had already been 960 suspected cases countrywide. Read more. The regions of Yangon, Tanintharyi, Ayeyarwaddy and Mon in Myanmar have logged the highest number of dengue fever infections in the first week of June, with more than 1,800; the national count was in excess of 2,690 cases. There were 18 recorded deaths in the same period. Read moreMacau has recorded the first locally-acquired case of dengue fever this year, a man from Areia Preta on the Macau peninsula. Read more

    Ukraine: Measles reports soar

    Over 1,400 new measles infections were recorded in the last week taking the year-to-date total to almost 22,000 with 11 deaths. A number of cities have each reported more than 1,500 cases this year: Lviv, Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Odesa and Kyiv. Read more

    United States of America: Local and regional food recalls

    A breakfast cereal and pre-packed trays of vegetables are behind multi-state (and in the case of the cereal, international) food recalls announced this past week. In Canada, some poultry products have been implicated in recent cases of salmonellosis in nine provinces and territories. Read more 

    Advice for travellers: Salmonella is bacteria typically found is food, such as poultry, that causes diarrhoea, fever, and abdominal cramps between 12 and 72 hours after infection. Illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment, although diarrhoea may be so severe as to require hospital treatment. Young children and the elderly are at highest risk of severe illness. As there is no vaccine to prevent salmonellosis, it is best to avoid raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat. Read more

    Vanuatu: Dengue, mumps update

    The dengue outbreak is over but the same cannot be said for mumps. A ReliefWeb summary of case numbers reveals there have been 619 cases since September last year, more than half in the central province of Shefa. The mumps virus is still circulating in Shefa, as well as Sanma, Malampa, and Tafea. Read more. Mumps reports updated for other Pacific destinations: Hawaii, USA and Auckland, New Zealand. 

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

    Vietnam: South’s dengue spike

    Sixty dengue fever hotspots, most of which are downtown, have been identified in the large city of Can Tho in the Mekong Delta. Of the 213 cases recorded this year, 200 are from this month alone, with children suffering most. On a national level, there have been over 22,000 dengue cases and four deaths this year. Read more

  • Brazil: Measles in NW

    Fourteen municipalities in the state of Amazonas and 11 in its northerly neighbour, Roraima, have reported measles outbreaks, with nearly 1,000 confirmed and suspected cases from across the NW region – a number of the cases in Roraima are among people from Venezuela, the site of a large ongoing outbreak. Read more

    Advice for travellers: Measles occurs in developing and developed countries and unvaccinated travellers are at particular risk, both in transit and during their stay. While generally benign, infection can result in severe illness or death. Travelvax Australia recommends travellers check their immunisation status for measles and other childhood diseases such as diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis) and mumps at least 6 weeks before departure. Read more about measles.

    Democratic Republic of Congo: EVD surveillance, vigilance continues

    The search for new Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases and their contacts has moved to the more remote areas of Iboko and Itipo in Equateur province. The latest World Health Organization (WHO) update advised that since May 17, ‘no new confirmed EVD cases have been reported in Bikoro and Wangata health zones, while the last confirmed case-patient in Iboko developed symptoms on 2 June 2018. From 1 April through 10 June 2018, a total of 55 EVD cases, including 28 deaths, have been reported from three health zones in Equateur Province.’ Read the WHO update here

    Advice for travellers: Ebola is a severe viral haemorrhagic fever found in humans and other primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). It spreads through families and friends in close contact with blood and infectious secretions of people with obvious symptoms and, as such, presents a low risk to tourists to the affected countries. Read more about Ebola virus disease.

    Europe: Measles summary

    Up to June 10, Public Health in France registered 2,466 measles infections from 84 departments, however there has been a gradual decrease in new reports since early April. The department is also monitoring the outbreak in Mauritius amid concerns that infections could be imported by returning holidaymakers. Other EU countries  with continuing large outbreaks include Romania (for the duration of the outbreak, 13,563 confirmed cases, 55 deaths), Italy (median age 24 yo, over 85% of cases from Sicily, Lazio, Calabria, Campania & Lombardy) and Greece (over 2,000 cases and 2 deaths this year alone). Read more

    Fiji: Dengue count nears 3,500, outbreak ends

    The dengue outbreak is over - under 60 new infections reported every week now, compared to more than 230 at its peak. In summary, the Health Ministry announced there were four deaths among the 3,437 confirmed cases – highest numbers from the Western Division (1315 cases), followed by the Northern (1242). The ministry continues to advise mosquito bite avoidance measures and removal of the insects’ breeding sites. Read more. The Western Division, taking in the towns and environs of Lautoka and Nadi, is to take part in the Wolbachia mosquito control program. 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, or PMD when outdoors to all exposed skin. Read more about dengue fever and preventing insect bites.

    India: Nipah virus update; Early monsoon effects

    No new cases of Nipah virus disease have surfaced in Kerala for almost two weeks, leading authorities to declare that the outbreak has been checked; health department data up to June 12 shows of the more than 300 samples tested, there were 18 confirmed cases and 16 deaths (three more cases and one death are considered ‘suspected’). Read more
    MONSOONAL rains have brought about the anticipated rise in mosquito-borne infections in the country’s south-west: Bengaluru and Kozhikode (Karnataka state) and Ernakulam (Kerala). State authorities in the state of Maharashtra have expressed consternation at the increased number of pre-monsoon dengue fever cases.

    Advice for travellers: Fruit bats (flying foxes) are the natural hosts of Nipah virus, and females shed the virus when pregnant or lactating. The fruit-eating bats perch on the jars used for collecting juice from palm or date trees, contaminating the juice with infected saliva and droppings. People are infected when they drink the raw juice, although it is also spread through person-to-person contact. 

    Jamaica: Dengue tally rises

    As many as 13 confirmed and 227 suspected dengue fever cases have been recorded this year. The mosquito-borne illness is endemic to Jamaica. Read more

    Kenya: Cholera count nears 5,000; RVF in north-east

    There have been nearly 5,000 cholera cases, including 75 deaths, from 19 counties this year and a number of them continue to report new infections - Garissa, Turkana, Tharaka-Nithi, West Pokot, Nairobi, Kiambu, Elgeyo Marakwet and Isiolo. Read more
    IN THE north-east county of Wajir, bordering Somalia, Rift Valley fever (RVF) is the confirmed cause of death for six people and the virus has sickened at least two more in this past week. As one of the modes of RVF transmission is through direct or indirect contact with contaminated meat/organs from infected animals (the other through mosquito bites), meat sales in the region have been halted. Most infections are fairly mild or asymptomatic. Read more

    Advice for travellers: Rift Valley fever (RVF) is an acute viral disease that typically infects domesticated herd animals. It is generally found in eastern and southern Africa where sheep and cattle are raised, as well as in West Africa, Madagascar, and more recently Saudi Arabia and Yemen. People are infected after exposure to blood, body fluids, or the tissue of RVF-infected animals, or from the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus presents a low risk to travellers, but is another reason to use personal insect repellent and take other steps to minimise insect bites in places where it occurs. Read more about RVF.

    Malawi: Resources to check rabies

    Rabies infections contracted through bites from rabid dogs have killed 22 people since last July in the SE district of Mulanje, bordering Mozambique. 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. If bitten or scratched, urgent post-exposure treatment is required. Vaccination is normally recommended for longer stays, especially travellers planning to live in, or travel extensively through, rural areas and also for children; however the final recommendation is itinerary-specific. Read more on rabies

    Namibia: More Hep E in north, capital

    There has been an increase in the number of suspected hepatitis E cases at the northern districts’ hospitals in Tsandi, Okahao, Outapi and Oshikuku. A local news report describes how a number of the confirmed cases had either travelled from the epicentre of the ongoing outbreak  in the informal township of Havana in Windhoek or had links to those people. Read more 
    IN THE far NE of the country, the regions of East and West Kavango are reporting a rise in the numbers of malaria infections. Read more 

    Advice for travellers: The hepatitis E virus is transmitted mainly through faecal contamination of drinking water. Unlike the Hep A and B viruses, there is no vaccine for this strain, which is especially common in communities with lower levels of sanitation and hygiene. More than 60% of all hepatitis E infections and 65% of deaths occur in East and South Asia. Read more about the virus and how to prevent infection.

    Nigeria: Cholera lingers in NE

    More cholera infections (240 cases, two deaths) have been reported over a recent 7-day period in the Mubi districts of the NE state of Adamawa, while to the north, in Borno, ‘low-level cholera transmission’ continues. The upcoming wet season is quite likely to worsen the outbreaks. 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

    Paraguay: End to malaria

    The WHO confirmed this week that a 60-year programme to eliminate malaria in Paraguay has been successful and it was formally declared malaria-free - … ‘The first country in the Americas to be granted this status since Cuba in 1973’. It’s been seven years since a case of Plasmodium vivax malaria was reported and more than 20 years for P. falciparum. Other regional countries aspiring to achieve malaria-free status by 2020 include Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico and Suriname. Read more

    Reunion Island: West, south hit hard by dengue

    The dengue fever count now exceeds 4,600 for the year and each week between three and four hundred cases continue to be reported – the west (over half of all cases) and south remain those areas most affected. It is hoped that the arrival of winter next month, combined with mosquito control programmes will bring the outbreak to an end, preventing an even larger outbreak next summer. Read more (translation required). 

    Saudi Arabia: MERS cluster in SW

    Eight MERS Co-V infections have been diagnosed in one family group from the SW region of Narjan – only one person had had contact with camels or camel products, a known risk factor for transmission of the virus. These latest cases take the total since April 2012 to more than 2,200 with 790 deaths. Read more

    Sri Lanka: Hike in leptospirosis rates

    The incidence of leptospirosis has risen in some districts where it is not considered endemic, adding to the national disease count of nearly 1,600 suspected cases. Several districts have each recorded more than 100 cases, while Colombo and Kegalle reported over 90. The monsoons are likely to generate an increase in cases. Read more

    Advice for travellers: Leptospirosis is spread through the urine of infected animals, typically rats. The bacterium enters the body through the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth, as well as through broken skin. Outbreaks are typically associated with exposure to floodwaters, making leptospirosis a low risk for most travellers. Read more about leptospirosis.

    Taiwan: JE cases climb to 12

    Kaohsiung, Taichung, Changhua, Chiayi and Tainan are the locations of the seven most recent cases of Japanese encephalitis (taking the total to 12), according to the Centers for Disease Control. The agency advises ‘people who frequent mosquito-prone areas such as pig farms and rice paddy fields to take precautions against mosquito bites and ensure age-appropriate children receive Japanese encephalitis vaccination in a timely manner in order to ward off infection’. Read more

    Advice for travellers: On average, 24 cases are recorded each year in Taiwan, mainly in the south from May to October, but peaking in June and July. Cases typically occur in rural, rice-growing areas where people live near the host animals, pigs and wading birds. While it is a low risk for most travellers staying in urban areas, expats and travellers spending extended periods in agricultural areas of Asia should consult their travel doctor about recommendations for vaccination. Read more about JE.

    Vietnam: Dengue Day brings renewed focus

    In advance of ASEAN Dengue Day on June 15, local authorities have placed the focus firmly on prevention and control of the mosquito-borne viral infection. Over 22,000 cases have been recorded country-wide this year and there have been four deaths in southern regions. Last year’s peak produced more than 180,000 cases and 30 related deaths – most cases were in the largest cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Read more 

  • Angola: Malaria spirals in 3 provinces

    Malaria is the biggest killer in Angola and even so, the outlook for this year is predicted to be severe - the provinces of Cuanza Norte, Bengo and Huambo are already experiencing malaria epidemics. The national toll rose to 3,835 deaths from over 1.5 million cases for the year. Read more (translation required).

    Advice for travellers: For many travellers, Africa presents a significant malaria risk. Travellers can discuss their itinerary and the need for anti-malaria medication with a trained travel health professional at their nearest Travelvax clinic. For details call 1300 360 164. Read more about malaria

    Argentina: Late dengue surge

    Authorities are hoping for cooler weather which would reduce the activity of dengue virus-carrying mosquitoes. A local news source puts the number of cases in the province of Misiones as 63 confirmed, 18 probable – nine cases have been diagnosed in Puerto Iguazú, situated near the Falls, and 169 in the capital city of Buenos Aires. Read more (translation required). 

    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, or PMD when outdoors to all exposed skin. Read more about dengue fever and preventing insect bites.

    Cameroon: Viral disease spreads in 5 regions

    Five health districts, located across different compass points, have reported either confirmed or suspected Monkeypox infections - Njikwa, Akwaya, Biyem-Assi, Bertoua and Fotokol health districts. The most recent World Health Organization (WHO) update states there have been 16 cases, an increase of nine from the last report. The latest assessment judges that the risk of spread from the remote areas is limited. WHO factsheet on Monkeypox.

    Advice for travellers: Closely related to the smallpox virus, monkeypox is mainly found in Central and Western Africa. Rodents are the suspected reservoir, with monkeys and humans as secondary or ‘spill-over’ hosts. People can be infected by eating undercooked ‘bushmeat’ or handling infected animals, making infection a low risk for travellers. Read more on monkeypox from the CDC. 

    Chad: Measles toll climbs

    An epidemic of measles is unfolding in the districts of Bokoro, Gama, Ati, Am dam and Goz Beida – the death toll sits at 18 from 474 infections. International aid agencies are working in the area, vaccinating up to 75 percent of children who are currently unimmunised. Read more

    Advice for travellers: Measles occurs in developing and developed countries and unvaccinated travellers are at particular risk, both in transit and during their stay. While generally benign, infection can result in severe illness or death. Travelvax Australia recommends travellers check their immunisation status for measles and other childhood diseases such as diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis) and mumps at least 6 weeks before departure. Read more about measles.

    Democratic Republic of Congo: More Ebola, but progress made

    As reported by the health ministry in an update on the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak, up to June 5th there have 60 cases of haemorrhagic fever (37 confirmed, 14 probable, 9 suspected). An additional six suspected cases have been identified (from Bikoro, Iboko & Wangata), three of whom were contacts of previous cases. Over 1,500 people have received the vaccine and a number of local traditional healers were invited to participate in an awareness campaign to learn of the need for strict hygiene measures.  According to a senior WHO official, Dr Peter Salama, ‘115 points of entry have been listed and mapped and 30 prioritized for implementing Ebola prevention, detection and control measures.’

    Advice for travellers: Ebola is a severe viral haemorrhagic fever found in humans and other primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). It spreads through families and friends in close contact with blood and infectious secretions of people with obvious symptoms and, as such, presents a low risk to tourists to the affected countries. Read more about Ebola virus disease.

    Fiji: Men C death toll rises

    This year’s death toll from meningococcal meningitis has risen to five this week following the death of a 22yo woman in Labasa; she was a nursing student. Read more. Vaccination of all children from one to 19 years of age is still underway – by the end of May up to 45,000 Meningococcal C vaccines had been administered. Read more 

    Advice for travellers: Advice on the prevention of meningococcal infection, as stated on the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services website, includes: Practicing good hygiene such as covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and washing hands; don’t share utensils, cups/glasses, drinks at social gatherings, cigarettes, or kava bowls. If planning travel to Fiji, discuss whether vaccination against meningococcal meningitis would be appropriate for your itinerary with your travel doctor. Read more about Men. meningitis.

    Grenada: Dengue, diarrhoea upsurge

    Dengue fever and diarrhoeal disease have struck the Spice Island. To date this year there have been 140 dengue infections (PAHO data), and health authorities have advised there is currently an increase in gastrointestinal illness being observed, particularly in the large eastern parish of St Andrews. Read more

    Honduras: Dengue fever cases top 3,600; Zika rating changes in region

    The health minister announced that there had been no dengue-related deaths this year, but over 3,600 infections have been confirmed with as many as 122 of those classified as severe. The northern department of Colón has been affected, together with the capital, Tegucigalpa, and the urban centres of San Pedro Sula, Puerto Cortes, Olancho and El Progreso. Read more (translation required).The UK government travel health site Travelhealthpro has advised this week that Nicaragua is now categorised as high risk for Zika infections, while the Netherlands Caribbean islands is now moderate risk as ‘previously some islands in this group were classified as high risk’. 

    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).

    India: Nipah, dengue, JE updates

    Measures to contain the Nipah virus disease outbreak now include home detention for over 2,000 people who have had contact with sick individuals in the Malabar district. The latest figures from the state Directorate of Health Services: 18 confirmed cases (10 suspected) and 16 confirmed deaths (one suspected). Read more. The monsoon season is intensifying and along with it, the incidence of mosquito-borne infections. Reports this week from Pune (Maharashtra state), Mangaluru (Karnataka), Solan (Himachal Pradesh) and Kozhikode (Kerala).

    Advice for travellers: Fruit bats (flying foxes) are the natural hosts of Nipah virus, and females shed the virus when pregnant or lactating. The fruit-eating bats perch on the jars used for collecting juice from palm or date trees, contaminating the juice with infected saliva and droppings. People are infected when they drink the raw juice, although it is also spread through person-to-person contact. In Bangladesh, Nipah generally occurs between December and April. More on Nipah virus

    Malaysia: Sarawak’s 10th rabies death; HFMD outbreaks; Dengue cases top 26,000

    Five districts of Sarawak are under a rabies alert this week as another rabies-related death was recorded in Serian. The young woman was bitten by a dog late in April but had not received the appropriate follow up treatment and vaccines. Hers is the 10th death in the state since July last year. Read more
    SABAH’S capital, Kota Kinabalu, is top of the list of HFMD cases in the state, one of eight municipalities reporting outbreaks. This year has seen increased case numbers across a wider area than for the same period in 2017. Read more
    OF THE 26,209 dengue cases recorded for the year, Selangor has fared worst (14, 525 cases), followed by Johor (2,315) and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (2,015). 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. If bitten or scratched, urgent post-exposure treatment is required. Vaccination is normally recommended for longer stays, especially travellers planning to live in, or travel extensively through, rural areas and also for children; however the final recommendation is itinerary-specific. Read more on rabies

    Mauritius: Measles count nears 200

    Measles case numbers had climbed to 192 by Tuesday in areas including Port-Louis, Roche-Bois, Baie-du-Tombeau and Pointe-aux-Sables. Vaccination campaigns have been carried out in government schools and will follow in private institutions. Read more (translation required). 

    Pacific: Regional dengue data

    Wallis has now reported 139 locally-acquired cases of dengue from the districts of Mua, Hahake and Hihifo, while Futuna has had one only. The cumulative total sits at 151 as it includes imported cases from New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Read more (translation required). In other regional dengue reports as published by ReliefWeb: Kiribati, for the two months to May 25, 472 dengue-like illnesses. Ongoing dengue outbreaks in Fiji and Vanuatu. Elsewhere - of the 1,412 cases recorded in New Caledonia to the 4th of June, 436 were from the capital Noumea.  A late wet season in Australia’s tropical north (Qld) is thought to be one of the reasons behind a single case of dengue identified in Mareeba, situated in the hinterlands near Cairns. This is the area’s first dengue case in over a year. Read more 

    Slovakia: Measles in east

    It is believed that measles imported from the UK is the source of the 22 suspected and confirmed infections that have spread in the district of Michalovce, on the shores of Lake Sirava in the country’s east. Read more

    Taiwan: JE peak brings 2 more cases

    The number of Japanese encephalitis (JE) cases recorded has increased to five, with two more cases from Kaohsiung City and Chiayi County. According to the Centers for Disease Control, ‘All 5 cases live in a high risk environment where there are vector breeding sites nearby.’ The peak of the JE season each year is June to July, however the infections can occur from May to October. Read more

    Advice for travellers: On average, 24 cases are recorded each year in Taiwan, mainly in the south from May to October, but peaking in June and July. Cases typically occur in rural, rice-growing areas where people live near the host animals, pigs and wading birds. While it is a low risk for most travellers staying in urban areas, expats and travellers spending extended periods in agricultural areas of Asia should consult their travel doctor about recommendations for vaccination. Read more about JE.

    Tanzania: Disease hike following floods

    Contaminated water and the local community’s lack of attention to hygiene are behind the cholera outbreak in the western district of Sumbawanga that has sickened nearly 400 people and killed 15. Read more

    Advice for travellers: While the risk of infection with cholera is low for short-stay travellers, Australians travelling to regions where an outbreak is occurring should adhere to strict personal hygiene and choose food and beverages with care. For further advice, call Travelvax Australia’s travel health advisory service (1300 360 164).

    Thailand: Dengue rates rise

    A relatively sparsely populated area of the capital is the site of the first dengue fatality this year - Nong Chok in the city’s east. Overall Bangkok has recorded almost 2,500 dengue fever cases this year. Five other districts are being monitored for dengue infections, including inner city locations. Read more. Country-wide, there have been over 5,600 dengue fever cases and four related deaths. Phuket has the highest infection rates per capita. In neighbouring Myanmar, over 2,300 dengue fever cases were recorded in the first five months of the year. Advice from a recent assembly of local experts in the Yangon region is that the mosquito-borne infection is now year-round. Read more