Health Alerts
  • Brazil: WHO broadens YF vax recommendation

    The states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have announced a rise in yellow fever (YF) cases and deaths. Highest case numbers were in São Paulo where the capital city's zoo and botanical gardens have been closed as a precaution after a monkey that had died of YF was found in the immediate area. Over 21 million residents of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Bahia states will receive YF fever vaccinations over the next 2 months – the population largely lives ‘in areas with ecosystems favorable for transmission of the yellow fever virus’. For tourists travelling to Brazil for the annual Carnival which gets under way on Feb 9th, the recommendation for YF vaccination has been extended from previously identified at-risk areas to include the City as well as the state of São Paulo. Read more.

    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

    France: Flu season update

    Influenza strains, B and A(H1N1) are the predominant infecting viruses in France’s current season, said to be the worst in 5 years. The WHO global update notes that flu activity is high also in Ireland, Italy and the UK (mainly A(H3N2) & B), while in ‘both Northern and Southern China, ILI (influenza-like illness) and influenza activity continued to increase at levels higher than the previous three influenza seasons’ (B, then A(H3N2)). ILI levels were also rising in North America, with people aged 65+ years making up most of the flu cases and hospitalisations (mostly A(H3N2)). Read the WHO update here

    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 against influenza 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.

    Guatemala: Measles import ex Germany

    Local measles cases haven’t been seen in 20 years and the vaccination rate against the highly infectious viral illness has been dropping over the last few years, so the confirmed diagnosis of measles in a student who had visited Germany earlier this month has produced calls for a strengthening of ‘public health surveillance protocol’. Germany is just one of the European countries reporting a spike in cases – 937 for the 12 months up to Nov ’17. 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.

    New Zealand: Mumps cases top 1,100

    The Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) website reveals that around 80 percent of the 10 to 29 year old residents who make up the most cases in the mumps outbreak are unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated. The case count has now topped 1,121 with health officials urging parents to ensure their children are current with the vaccination schedule. Read more. The January 18 state health department update on the mumps outbreak (809 cases) in Hawaii can be found here.

    Advice for travellers: These lingering 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.

    Nigeria: Measures to tackle Lassa fever

    Rapid Response Teams have been dispatched to the states of Ebonyi, Ondo and Edo to manage Lassa fever outbreaks. The 3 states have been hardest hit, but a further 7 states have also recorded cases – a total of 107 suspected infections since Jan 1st. 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 5,000 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.

    Samoa: Dengue numbers finally declining

    Health officials believe the dengue outbreak is slowing despite a further 110 cases being recorded during the Christmas period. Read more. Ituau, Mauputasi and Sua in American Samoa have been identified as having suspected dengue fever cases. Read more. Over 1,200kms to the north, Kiribati has reported a rising number of suspected dengue fever illnesses and also 338 cases of rotavirus, which has badly affected the under-4 year’s age group. 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.

    Singapore: Dengue cluster in NE

    The National Environment Agency’s Dengue page identifies a high risk cluster which has so far produced 100 of the 223 cases the island-state has recorded this year. The cluster is in a residential area in the NE - Hougang/Serangoon district. Read more.

    Tanzania: Cholera risk ‘high’

    A WHO assessment on the risk of cholera in the country notes that ‘active cholera transmission has persisted in Tanzania Mainland, with Mbeya and Songwe Regions being the most active’ but public health measures need reinforcing, so the ‘risk at national level is therefore high.’ Furthermore, ‘Malawi recently reported a cholera outbreak in Karonga. Cross-border population movement between the two countries might further increase the risk of transmission in Malawi. Other neighbouring countries such as DRC, Burundi, Zambia and Kenya are already experiencing large cholera outbreaks. The risk at regional level is high.’ 

    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. For further advice on whether you should consider vaccination for your trip, call Travelvax Australia’s travel health advisory service (1300 360 164).

    Thailand: Seasonal warning

    During the current scrub typhus peak season, people who have visited forested areas have been asked to monitor their health for symptoms of the infection which is spread through the bites of chiggers or larval mites. Prompt medical follow up is recommended in the presence of fever, headache and dry cough, particularly if there is also a dark scab or eschar at the site of the bite. Malaria should also be excluded. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Scrub typhus is a bacterial disease passed on to humans by mites that normally live on rodents infected with the disease. Most travel-acquired cases occur when travellers camp, hike, or go river rafting in rural areas in endemic countries. Scrub typhus occurs throughout the Asia-Pacific region, where more than a million cases occur annually. There is no vaccine or prevention medication: avoidance hinges on minimising insect bites. Due to the disease’s 5- to 14-day incubation period, travellers often experience symptoms (fever, headache, malaise, and sometimes nausea, vomiting and a rash) after their trip. Read more about rickettsial diseases.

    Uganda: Viral fevers in Central Region

    Two viral fevers that can be transmitted by insects or through contact with infected blood or tissues from animals have caused the deaths of 4 people from the Central Region. At least 5 cases (3 deaths) of Rift Valley fever (RVF) have been recorded in the districts of Kiboga, Buikwe and Mityana, while a 9-year-old child died of Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic fever in Nakaseke district. Today the Minister of Health released a statement outlining the government’s response. In South Sudan, testing is underway on 13 people from Eastern Lakes State suspected of having RVF. There have been 3 associated deaths. 

    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.

    Zimbabwe: Typhoid, now cholera

    Following last week’s report on a typhoid outbreak in the capital, another diarrhoeal disease has struck. This time it’s cholera that has sickened 32 people and caused the deaths of 4 in the town of Chegutu, 100kms to the west of Harare. International aid agencies are on the scene providing assistance. 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 on typhoid.

  • Australia: Hep A vaccines to counter outbreak

    Up to 39 people in Victoria have confirmed or suspected hepatitis A infections, according to a health.vic news release which states that ‘widespread local transmission is occurring and the outbreak is affecting gay, bisexual and other MSM, and people who inject drugs … The hepatitis A strains detected in this outbreak are similar to those circulating in Europe.’ The government is providing vaccines for at-risk individuals from January 22nd. 

    Advice for travellers: Hepatitis A (HAV) is a vaccine-preventable viral disease passed on to humans primarily through oral contact with faeces of an infected person. This can occur through contaminated food and water, by handling everyday items and sexual contact. It is a significant risk in travellers to 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.

    Brazil: YF vax recommendation for SP

    The World Health Organization (WHO) issued an advisory this week with particular mention on the yellow fever situation in São Paulo state: ‘Considering the increased level of yellow fever virus activity observed across the state of São Paulo … the entire state of São Paulo should also be considered at risk for yellow fever transmission. Consequently, vaccination against yellow fever is recommended for international travellers visiting any area in the state of São Paulo.’ Of the 35 YF cases and 20 deaths reported in Brazil between July last year and Jan 14th, 20 infections with 11 deaths were in São Paulo.   

    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.

    Democratic Republic of Congo: Cholera hits capital, western province

    With a large area of the capital Kinshasa already affected by a cholera outbreak that started in November, the WHO has expressed concern that the infection could become more widespread in the city of 10 million people. Read more. To the far west, cholera has killed 10 people in the province of Kongo-Central. 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.

    Fiji: Dengue advice for all divisions

    Following a recent dengue fever outbreak in the town of Labasa in Macuata province (Vanua Levu), health authorities have asked residents there, and also in the Eastern, Western & Central divisions, to do their part in ridding their locales of mosquito breeding sites. The peak dengue season in the islands is from November to April. 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.

    France: West coast measles

    A further 15 measles cases already this month have been added to the 101 recorded in 2017 in Nouvelle-Aquitaine (regional capital Bordeaux). Of the recent cases, most have been in the 15 to 24 years age group. The region’s measles vaccination rates are lower than those recommended by the WHO. Read more (translate from French).

    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.

    Indonesia: Papua’s measles deaths; More diphtheria cases

    A measles outbreak has killed more than 50 children in the southern Papuan province of Asmat. The situation has been exacerbated by the malnourished condition of the children and the remoteness of the region. Read more

    MORE than 20 new cases of diphtheria have been identified in the first 2 weeks of the New Year – from the provinces/districts of Lampung, Aceh, Jakarta, West Java and Banten. Hardest hit has been West Java – the cities of Bogor, Ciamis, Tasikmalaya and Cianjur in particular. Read more. More on diphtheria.

    Maldives: Dengue increases

    Dengue cases have surged this year compared to the same time last year, during what is the peak period for the mosquito-borne infection. According to a local news report the outbreak is not widespread, but the health department has not released the names of the islands most affected. Read more.

    Namibia: More Hep E spread likely

    The WHO has categorised the risk presented by the ongoing hepatitis E outbreak in Windhoek as high on a national level, with an increased likelihood of the viral infection spreading during the current rainy season. The assessment concludes with: ‘WHO does not recommend any restriction on travel and trade to Namibia on the basis of the information available on the current event. The implementation of general hygiene practices and other preventive measures listed above should be sufficient to prevent the disease.’ 

    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. Read more about the virus and how to prevent it.

    New Zealand: Duo of infectious diseases

    One news report describes the ongoing situation as ‘a whooping cough outbreak and a mumps epidemic’ as cases of both infections continue to mount across the country. Health officials have expressed concern that both communicable diseases are likely to persist in the community throughout this year. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: This lingering outbreak of mumps highlights 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.

    Philippines: Mindanao’s measles rising

    Davao City on the island of Mindanao has reported a spike in measles cases - after starting in November, numbers surged last month. Currently there have been 16 confirmed infections and another 222 are under investigation. Read more.

    South Africa: Listeria toll grows

    Still no resolution in the widespread listeria outbreak affecting the country. Recommendations provided by health authorities include: Consume foods where preparation renders food safe, such as pasteurised dairy products or canned vegetables; avoid eating food that has not been stored correctly or cooked thoroughly; ensure that meat, poultry, eggs and seafood are properly cooked; wash fresh fruit and vegetables thoroughly; and pregnant women and other persons at risk of serious disease should avoid eating soft cheeses. Read more.

    United Kingdom: Measles alerts

    Three areas of South London have been added to the list of those with recent measles infections. Bromley, Croydon and Greenwich join West Yorkshire & West Midlands, Cheshire, Liverpool, Surry and Greater Manchester in reporting cases, many of which are thought to be associated with the large outbreak in Europe. Read more. In the past week, air passengers who were infectious with measles passed through 2 airports in the US (New Jersey & Illinois) and one in Australia (Melbourne ex Dubai/Singapore). This has led to warnings for possible contacts to be on the alert for symptoms. And in the Ukraine, the death toll in the measles outbreak has reached 2 for this month alone among 1,275 cases to date. Low immunisation rates are believed to be responsible for the large numbers of infections – in 2017 there were nearly 5,000 cases with 5 deaths. Read more.

    Zambia: New case of HAT

    ProMED reports on the recent case of a tourist who visited South Luangwa National Park where he contracted human African trypanosomiasis (HAT or sleeping sickness) after being bitten by tse tse flies. This follows another HAT illness acquired in the same park in August last year by a German tourist. 

    Advice for travellers: Human African Trypanosomiasis is spread by tsetse flies in 37 African countries. The flies are attracted to moving vehicles and bright or dark colours and can bite through light-weight clothing. Travellers should cover up and apply a personal insect repellent containing DEET (30-50%), Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus at all times when outdoors. Read more on HAT and how to avoid it.

    Zimbabwe: Typhoid’s return to Harare

    Harare province is at the centre of a typhoid scare after at least 200 cases were identified in the first 7 days of the month. Contaminated water supplies and overcrowding in parts of the capital have contributed greatly to the outbreak. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Typhoid fever is endemic in many developing regions, although it generally presents a low risk for short-stay travellers staying in western-style accommodation. Vaccination against typhoid 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.

  • Brazil: YF persists in São Paulo: Hep A in Rio favela

    Two people have died and a third is in a critical condition in hospital after contracting yellow fever (YF) while in the district of Mairiporã in Greater São Paulo. A total of 20 cases are under investigation from Mairiporã, Santo André and São Paulo city. Due to high vaccination rates in the region, most of the people infected or suspected of having YF are thought to have travelled from other districts. Read more (translate from Portuguese).

    A FAVELA in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro is the centre of a hepatitis A outbreak that is mainly affected adults of 20-30 years of age. To date, 75 of the 92 suspected cases have been confirmed. Contaminated water in the favela (Vidigal) is thought to be responsible for the infections. Read more.

    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.

    China: Flu increasing

    The World Health Organization (WHO) global influenza update of Jan 8th has identified a B strain as the predominant virus affecting areas of both the north and the south of China, and also in South Korea. Elsewhere, influenza-like activity was raised in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia; North America (Canada & USA); northern & SW Europe (incl. UK & France); and Western Asia. See the full report with details of the seasonal flu subtypes here

    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 influenza vaccination if available, and good hygiene (i.e. handwashing and cleaning) for all travellers over 6 months.

    Europe: Hep A spreads

    According to an update from the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), the hepatitis A outbreak that started in June 2016 in the MSM community (men who have sex with men) has now affected 24 countries across the region and is spreading into the wider population: ‘A considerable increase in the number of hepatitis A cases caused by the outbreak strain in women has also been observed. This indicates that the outbreak has spilled over to the non MSM population.’  

    Advice for travellers: Hepatitis A (HAV) is a vaccine-preventable viral disease passed on to humans primarily through oral contact with faeces of an infected person. This can occur through contaminated food and water, by handling everyday items and sexual contact. It is a significant risk in travellers to 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.

    Indonesia: Measles alert; Diphtheria vax campaign extended

    The US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel advisory in response to increased numbers of measles cases in returning travellers from areas such as Bali, as reported by various countries including Australia. Other countries identified in the Watch Level 1 measles advisory are Romania, Ukraine, Italy & DR of Congo. Read more.

    SOME adults are also to be vaccinated against diphtheria in the ongoing campaign mounted by the Jakarta government in response to the increase in cases recorded last year in the capital region – this takes the number of residents to be targeted with preventive vaccines to 1.9 million. 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.

    Israel: Rabies in north

    A 4-fold increase in the number of rabid animals detected in northern districts (Gilboa region, the Jordan & Jezreel Valleys, Megiddo and Yokne’am) has authorities voicing concerns on the heightened risk of spread to the human population from both (unvaccinated) domestic pets and wildlife. 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.

    Japan: STI increase provokes govt. response

    With the staging of the summer Olympic Games just 2 years away, the government is tackling a rise in syphilis cases - 5,534 for 2017 up to mid-December, a steady increase from 2010 when 620 cases were recorded. High density prefectures were most affected: Tokyo (1,705 cases), Osaka (788), Aichi (325) & Kanagawa (312). Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a bacterium that enters through wounded skin or mucous membranes. You can get syphilis by direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Infections can cause long-term complications if not treated correctly with an antibiotic like penicillin. Read more about syphilis and other STIs.

    Kenya: Mombasa’s first chikungunya cases

    An outbreak of chikungunya in Mombasa, first advised last week, has now resulted in at least 40 confirmed cases however hundreds more people are reporting typical symptoms of the infection. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: The symptoms of chikungunya fever are similar to dengue fever and both are transmitted by the same mosquitoes – the day-time feeding Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Acute joint pain with a rash is typical of chikungunya and while fatal cases are rare, painful joints may persist for weeks or months after the acute phase has ended. 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.

    Namibia: Hep E cases climb again

    A hepatitis E outbreak in the informal settlements of north-western Windhoek, as reported on our post of Dec 21, continues with 214 cases now recorded. Community meetings have been held to discuss the means of stopping the spread of the faecal-oral transmitted virus. 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 it.

    Nigeria: YF in 7 states

    In the latest update from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), over 350 suspected yellow fever cases and 45 deaths have been reported from 7 states (Niger is the most recent) since Sept 12th last year. More than two-thirds of cases have been in the under 20 years’ age group. Definite numbers will be confirmed following laboratory testing of blood samples in Dakar, Senegal.  

    Philippines: Spike in 2 infectious diseases

    Data on measles and rubella notifications in 2017 show a dramatic rise in the incidence of both infections – over 3,500 suspected cases of measles/rubella were reported. Measles increased from 2016 figures by over 250 percent and rubella, 181 percent. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Rubella is spread by airborne droplets and can cause serious birth defects if infection occurs during early pregnancy. Rubella is the 'R' component in the triple MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, one of the routine immunisations which should be current for prior to overseas travel. Travellers should also check their immunisation status for tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough.

    Reunion Island: New dengue locale in SW

    A new area of dengue transmission has been identified in the past month – at least 8 cases have been reported in Ravine des Cabris, a district of the SW port town of Saint-Pierre. Read more (translate from French).

    Samoa: Dengue cases surge over 2,400

    Children and young adults aged up to 19 years have borne the brunt of the dengue fever outbreak that started in October last year. The case count has topped 2,446 with 5 related deaths to date. The island of Upolu has been hardest hit (Faleata, Vaimauga and Leauvaa). 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.

    South Africa: Listeria deaths now at 61

    A poultry abattoir, found to be contaminated with listeria bacteria, has been closed, but the search is still on for the source of the outbreak which experts are now calling ‘the worst on record, worldwide’. There have now been 727 laboratory-confirmed cases of listeriosis and 61 resulting deaths. Read more

    United States of America: More adults contracting mumps

    Still no let-up in the mumps outbreak affecting Hawaii that has now caused 770 confirmed cases in Honolulu (610), Hawaii (108), Kauai (49) and Maui (3) – almost two-thirds of cases are aged 18 years and older. The chief of the Disease Outbreak Control Division has called for adults to be vaccinated, ‘especially for those who live, work, or socialize regularly in crowded settings.’ Measures to avoid crowds and limit close social interaction have also been encouraged. Read more.

    Zambia: Cholera’s curfew

    The government has instituted a curfew in the Lusaka district of Kanyama in an attempt to halt the spread of cholera – the sale and consumption of (potentially contaminated) food and water is banned and daylight inspections had shown none of this activity, however the trade had continued in the evenings. Read more (translate from French). One news report cites the president of Tanzania as saying he is directing border officials at the Nakonde-Tunduma post to deny entry to anyone from Zambia to prevent cholera from being introduced, while authorities in Namibia have stopped the importation of food & water from Zambia until the outbreak is resolved. To the south, in Malawi, a cholera outbreak on the shores of Lake Malawi that started out in November is continuing, with 150 people hospitalised and 4 deaths reported. 

    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.