Health Alerts
  • Central African Republic, South Africa, West Africa: Watery diarrhoea ubiquitously

    Acute watery diarrhea (AWD) disease outbreaks (cholera) have been reported in a number of countries in Central Africa, including Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo & Nigeria. In Eastern and Southern Africa, cholera has caused more than 102 800 notifications and 1550 deaths since the beginning of 2017 in Angola, Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. According to a report in All Africa cited in Prome ‘Somalia accounts for 76.6 % of the total cases reported, followed by South Sudan at 15.9%. Heavy rains have been cited as the main culprit of the outbreak but poor sanitation is commonplace in the affected regions. Conflict and subsequent displacements in such countries as Burundi, Somalia, and South Sudan have exacerbated the outbreak of the water borne disease in the respective countries’. 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.

    Australia: Whooping cough spikes

    Pertussis is sweeping through Riverton [South Australia] with a total of 21 students from Riverton Primary School and 1 student at Riverton Kindergarten confirmed to have contracted the infection since the start of August (2017). The South Australian Health Minister Jack Snelling is urging all South Australians to get vaccinated. He reported back in June (2017) that the number of notifications received had risen alarmingly in the State with a nearly 50% increase (860 cases) compared to 2016 571 cases). Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Travelvax Australia recommends that all travellers ensure they are current for whooping cough (pertussis) and all childhood vaccinations, including, diphtheria, measles, chickenpox and tetanus for travel to any destination – be it a developed or developing country. Read more about pertussis.

    Belize: Pink eye in Americas

    According to local news reports, there have been 1108 cases of pink eye (conjunctivitis) reported in Belize up to the end of September 2017, in what they call one of the worst outbreaks since 2005. Belize now joins Panama (as reported last week) and several other Caribbean, Central and South American countries (Bahamas, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mexico, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Suriname, and the Turks and Caicos Islands) which have all reported outbreaks. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Pink/red eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is one of the most common eye conditions in children and adults. It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, clear tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and the white part of the eyeball. This inflammation makes blood vessels more visible and gives the eye a pink or reddish colour. Travellers are advised to frequently wash their hands with soap and water, and not to share sunglasses or bath towels. In addition, it is recommended to see a medical professional if they have itching, pain, swollen eyelids, grit eyes, or other discomfort. Read more.

    Brazil: MSM Hepatitis A

    According to the local Health Department, the city of Sao Paulo is in the throes of an outbreak of hepatitis A as a result of men having sex with men (MSM). There have been since January until the 16th of September been 517 cases of the disease, a very significant increase of more than 8 x the number of cases in 2016 (64 cases). The State Department of Health, in turn, reports that in Sao Paulo state, there have been 394 cases of hepatitis A by the 2nd week of August 2017 compared to just 154 cases in 2016. Read more

    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.

    Fiji: Enteric fever concerns

    The Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical services is closely monitoring reports of an outbreak of Typhoid fever, so called enteric fever caused by _Salmonella enterica_ serotype Typhi on Moturiki Island in the Lomaiviti Group. There have been 13 patients diagnosed on Moturiki island and all have received pertinent treatment. Symptoms of classical typhoid include fever, anorexia, lethargy, malaise, dull continuous headache, non-productive cough, vague abdominal pain, and constipation. Diarrhea may develop but usually does not. Read more

    Advice for travellers: Typhoid is endemic in many developing regions, although it generally presents a low risk for travellers, vaccination is itinerary specific. All travellers visiting endemic areas should follow safe food and water guidelines, and adopt strict personal hygiene practices and discuss with their doctor if vaccinations are necessary.

    Hong Kong: 5th case of JE

    The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) has reported its 5th case of Japanese encephalitis (JE) in Hong Kong this year, compared to 2016 and 2015 which saw 2 (imported) and 2 (local) transmissions. There have been sporadic cases of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) infection in Hong Kong in past years. 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 can occur in or near cities. The risk to short-stay travellers and those who confine their travel to urban centres is very low. The recommendations for vaccination are itinerary-specific. Read more on JE.

    Madagascar: An old foe

    There have been a total of 449 cases of plague (including pneumonic, bubonic and one case of septicemic) with 48 deaths in 20 areas and cities across Madagascar. Pneumonic plague is probably the most serious form of plague; it's when the bacteria infect the lungs and causes pneumonia. The risk of infection with Yersinia pestis for international travellers to Madagascar is generally low, however travellers to rural areas of plague infected areas may be at risk. A Seychellois basketball player taking part in a tournament contracted pneumonic plague and died in a hospital in Madagascar. Read more

    Advice for travellers: Travellers should avoid crowded areas, avoid contact with dead animals, infected tissues or materials, and avoid close contact with patients with pneumonic plague. Travellers can protect against flea bites using repellent products for personal protection against mosquitoes, fleas and other blood-sucking arthropods. Read more on plague

    Switzerland: Ticks on the rise

    According to the Swiss Federal Health Office encephalitis due to tick bites is on the rise in Switzerland with 214 people contracting this serious viral illness from a tick bite and 2 deaths, according to local Swiss newspaper (SonntagsZeitung Sun 8 Oct 2017. The WHO states, "Approximately 10000-12 000 clinical cases of tick-borne encephalitis are reported each year, but this figure is believed to be significantly lower than the actual total. Immunization offers the most effective protection. Read more 

    Advice for travellers: A viral infection, tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) can cause fever, vomiting, cramps and paralysis, which can be prolonged. In rare instances, infection can be fatal. Travellers who spend time in regions where TBE is endemic – mainly forested areas of Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Northern China, and Mongolia – may be at risk. The highest risk is during the warmer months from April to November, especially when hiking or camping in areas below 1500m. VACCINE: While safe and effective vaccines are available in Europe, none are licensed in Australia. However, vaccinations can be obtained from Travelvax through the TGA special access scheme.

    United States of America: pesky mossies

    Local residents in Southern California are complaining about swarms of small, aggressive mosquitoes biting during the day, often indoors. The County Vector control unit inspected local traps and found A. aegypti_ and/or _A. albopictus_ mosquitoes capable of carrying mosquito borne illnesses such as West Nile, dengue, Zika virus, chikungunya and yellow fever. The concern is that this may lead to the introduction of one of the above named viruses. As of the 27 Sep 2017, there have been 25 cases of Zika virus infections imported into California so far this year (2017). Read more

    Advice for travellers: Mosquito borne diseases such as dengue are 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 preventing insect bites.  

    Zambia: Copper belt malaria

    The Province Health Director Costantine Mwale has told ZNBC News that malaria has continued to plague the Copperbelt Province in Zambia with 400,000 cases reported between January to October 2017. Read more

    Advice for travellers: Advice for travellers: For most 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

  • Australia: Bad flu season: Measles alert

    There have been a total of 193,673 laboratory confirmed notifications of Influenza in Australia for 2017, at the start of 4 October. The highest rates have been in NSW, followed by QLD and SA. Influenza activity is past its peak in most States however remains high.  There has been 2.5 times the number of confirmed cases of influenza compared to last year and 370 deaths recorded in 4 states. Read more. FURTHER There have now been 25 cases of measles across NSW in 2017, including more than a dozen in western Sydney. Melbourne has recorded 11 cases in the past fortnight; most of these cases have been linked to the Collins Square office building at Docklands. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: The 2017 flu season is well underway in the southern hemisphere and Travelvax Australia recommends vaccination for all travellers over 6 months. Seasonal flu is the most common vaccine-preventable travel-related illness, posing a risk aboard aircraft, in crowded airport terminals, and at your destination. 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. Hand sanitiser is a convenient alternative if soap and water is not available. Read more about Flu.

    Canada: Mumps soaring

    There have been 252 cases of measles confirmed in Manitoba since June this year, these numbers are extremely high for a region which typically sees 0 to 5 cases per year. Authorities are unsure what is causing this spike; however one possible reason is that mumps can spread more easily when people live in overcrowded housing and in smaller, tight-knit communities. Ontario has reported more than 100 cases and now Peterborough public health is warning residents after 3 cases have been diagnosed in the area.  

    Advice for travellers: These consequences of mumps outbreaks 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.

     

    Europe: Measles sky-high; UK measles success

    France has seen more than 400 people infected with measles between January to July, in comparison there were only 79 cases last year. Greece has seen 170 cases of measles so far this year, mainly in Roma children under the age of 10 years in the Attica region. In comparison the United Kingdom (UK) has effectively eradicated measles as a public health concern, once again demonstrating the power of vaccinations. The WHO announced the good news after confirming that measles has not circulated in the UK for the past 3 years. 

    Advice for travellers: Easily preventable through vaccination, measles and mumps are highly contagious diseases that can cause serious illness in people of all ages. Many cases reported in Australia are linked to overseas travel to both developing and developed countries. Travelvax Australia recommends travellers check their status for these and other routine childhood immunisations, such as diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis), and polio 6 weeks before departure. Read more

     

    Kenya: Malaria not low risk

    A Malaria outbreak has killed 15 people in North Horr [in Marsabit county central northern Kenya near the Ethiopian border] in one week, with 129 others infected. This area is normally considered a low risk area, however heavy rains from July have provided a fertile ground for mosquito breeding. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: For most 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

    Italy: Local Chikungunya continues

    As of 26 September, 183 cases have been notified to the Lazio Region of Italy, which includes the coastal areas of Anzio and Latina as well as the city of Rome. Of the notified cases, 109 are confirmed and 74 additional cases are being investigated (all with a link to the Lazio Region). Three more confirmed cases have also been notified from other areas with a travel history to Anzio. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Chikungunya virus is spread by the same daytime-feeding mosquitoes that transmit dengue fever. There is no vaccine and preventing infection relies on avoiding mosquito bites. 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 chikungunya and avoiding insect bites. Products are available through Travelvax online

    Pakistan: New wild polio; Diphtheria threat

    There have been 11 cases of wild polio in 2017 compared to 37 in 2016 globally. Pakistan reports - one new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case which occurred in Lakki Marwat district, Khyber Pakhtoon province. Read more FURTHER a serious threat has emerged for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) [formerly the North-West Frontier Province (NW)] government in Pakistan after 33 cases of diphtheria were reported from the federally administration tribal areas (FATA). Read more

    Advice for travellers: Polio is a potentially serious viral illness that is spread through contact with infected faeces or saliva. The risk to travellers is generally low. Vaccination is recommended for travel to affected regions. If at risk, adults should have a booster to the childhood series. More on polio. Diphtheria is among the childhood diseases Travelvax recommends Australians have boosted if needed 6 weeks prior to overseas travel. Read more on diphtheria.

    Panama: Pink/red eye; viral conjunctivitis

    The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Panama (Minsa) has reported some 68 867 cases of viral conjunctivitis. Most cases have been reported are Coln, San Miguelito [Panam division], Panama Oeste, and Panama Metro. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Pink/red eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is one of the most common eye conditions in children and adults. It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, clear tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and the white part of the eyeball. This inflammation makes blood vessels more visible and gives the eye a pink or reddish colour. Travellers are advised to frequently wash their hands with soap and water, and not to share sunglasses or bath towels. In addition, it is recommended to see a medical professional if they have itching, pain, swollen eyelids, grit eyes, or other discomfort. Read more

    South Africa: Rabies KwaZulu-Natal

    A female holidaymaker presented at a local veterinary clinic after being bitten by a puppy on Thu 14 Sep 2017 and authorities are very keen to speak to this person, after a puppy was euthanized due to its agressive behaviour and an autopsy revealed rabies. Over the past month cases of rabies have been reported in the King Cetshwayo District (Eshowe to Richards Bay), moving south through the Ilembe District (Ndwedwe and Maphumulo) into Inanda township in Durban - and now in the greater Ballito area. This is an area which until recently had been rabies free, following a partnership between the WHO and the Bill Gates Foundation. Read more

    Advice for travellers: Rabies is a significant public health issue throughout  Africa. For most short-stay travellers the risk is generally low. Vaccination recommendations are itinerary-specific but include those travellers planning to live in, or travel extensively.  However, all Australians visiting Africa and other endemic countries 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. Read more on rabies.

    United States of America: Early northern hemisphere flu

    Alaskan authorities have confirmed more than 70 confirmed cases of influenza in September 2017, for both the North Slope and Northwest Arctic. These increased number of cases detected in northern Alaska may be indicative of an early onset to the flu season. 

    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. Vaccination in the southern hemisphere may not be protective for the northern hemisphere. Read more about Influenza.

    Saudi Arabia: New MERS-CoV

    The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) announced a new case of MERS-CoV from Tabuk, a city in northwestern Saudi Arabia near the Jordanian border. The man presented with symptoms of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) infection and is in stable condition. He had direct contact with camels, a known risk factor for contracting MERS. There have been 1,727 cases of MERS - CoV since 2012, including 699 deaths. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Experts advise that simple precautions will prevent infection – as well as colds, flu, traveller’s diarrhoea, and other illnesses. Most importantly, to prevent germs spreading, wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, after using the toilet, and before eating or touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Close contact with a sick person should also be avoided.

  • Brazil: Hep A spike; Chikungunya numbers rise again

    The state of São Paulo has seen a rise in hepatitis A infections, mirroring the increase seen in Europe and associated with men who have sex with men (MSM). The age group most represented is from 20 to 49 years of age. Read more (translate from Portuguese)
    CHIKUNGUNYA cases surged at the end of August - beginning of September, with one 14 day period bringing an increase of over 37,000 confirmed and suspected cases. Read more (Epi week 35).

    Advice for travellers: Vaccine-preventable Hepatitis A (HAV) is one of the most common infections affecting travellers. It is a significant risk in most developing countries where sanitation and hygiene are lacking, with an estimated 1.4 million cases occurring worldwide each year. The virus is transmitted by the oral-faecal route, such as through contaminated food and water, and with some sexual practices. A course of hepatitis A vaccine offers immunity that’s 99%-plus effective and long lasting (20-30 years). It is also important to follow safe food and water guidelines.

    Democratic Republic of Congo: Cholera now in many provinces

    With 20 of the country’s 26 provinces now affected, the cholera outbreak that was declared on Sept 9th shows no sign of slowing; in fact the situation in over half of the provinces (11) is described as epidemic. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has set up numerous treatment centres where upwards of 17,000 people have already been treated. 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.

    Egypt: Dengue reappears

    Dengue fever has been absent from Egypt for several years, but in the news this week an outbreak of dengue fever has been declared in the Red Sea port of El Quseir. The number of infections now sits at 686 and includes almost 100 with complications. The town lies half way between the 2 better known resort towns of Hurghada and Marsa Alam. 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.

    Europe: HIV strikes older age group

    There’s been a gradual rise in HIV diagnoses in the EU, affecting people aged over 50 who acquired the virus through heterosexual sex. A Reuters article, citing a publication in The Lancet HIV journal, states that new HIV cases in the older age group make up ‘around one in six’ of those notified in 31 EU countries and they ‘were also more likely than younger people to have advanced HIV’. As of 2015, Estonia, Latvia, Malta and Portugal reported the highest rates in the 50+ years' age group. Read more. More on HIV from the World Health Organization (WHO). 

    India: Monsoon-associated outbreaks linger

    Dengue fever continues to make its presence felt in cities and states across the nation: Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Karnataka, Haryana and Tamil Nadu. While in the state of Bihar, cases of Japanese encephalitis (JE) have topped 42 this season as doctors warn that the vaccine, which is given routinely to children in the state, is less effective when the child is malnourished. There are reports of previously vaccinated children contracting JE. 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 can occur in or near cities. The risk to short-stay travellers and those who confine their travel to urban centres is very low. The recommendations for vaccination are itinerary-specific. Read more on JE

    Italy: Chikungunya cases top 92

    The most recent Communicable Disease Threats Report issued by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) notes that: ‘As of 21 September, Italy reported 92 autochthonous (locally acquired) chikungunya cases in the Lazio region: Anzio (70), Rome (19) and Latina (3). The media are reporting one case in the city of Formigine, Emilia-Romagna region and one case in Castelplanio city, Marche region. Both of them had a recent travel history to Anzio prior onset of symptoms.’ The government has instituted heightened surveillance and mosquito control measures. Read more (translate from Italian). Also in the ECDC report, the cluster of chikungunya cases in the department of Var in SE France has grown to 9 (2 are unconfirmed) – all live in or near the town of Cannet-des-Maures. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: Chikungunya virus is spread by the same daytime-feeding mosquitoes that transmit dengue fever. There is no vaccine and preventing infection relies on avoiding mosquito bites. 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 chikungunya and avoiding insect bites.

    Madagascar: Plague brings more deaths

    The death toll in the outbreak of pneumonic plague has reached 15 among nearly 100 suspected cases. Seventeen districts have reported cases, including the capital Antananarivo, but the Central Highlands has the highest count. With several months still to run in the current ‘plague season’, many more cases are expected. Read more (translate from French).

    Advice for travellers: Plague occurs annually in Madagascar, but poses a low risk to most travellers. Most cases of plague are due to bubonic plague following the bite of an infected flea carried by rats. If left untreated, infection of the lungs causes the pneumonic form of plague, a severe respiratory illness, which can progress rapidly to death. Read more about the plague.

    Mexico: Pink eye on peninsula

    An average of 70 or more (mainly) children a day are being diagnosed with conjunctivitis on the Yucatan Peninsula, according to a local news source. Authorities have implemented a public awareness campaign that promotes good personal hygiene and advises against self-treatment with antibiotic drops. The Yucatan is the location for the tourist resorts of Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen. Read more. More on conjunctivitis

    New Zealand: Mumps sweeps across city

    As the mumps outbreak continues its spread across Auckland, public health officials have confirmed that around 5 percent of the 440 infected individuals have required hospitalisation. A local news report quotes the area medical officer as saying that, currently, inflammation of the testicles, or orchitis, is the most common complication, however mumps-related meningitis has also been diagnosed. Read more.

    Advice for travellers: These consequences of mumps infections 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.

    Pakistan: Measles’ deadly toll

    An outbreak of measles in Umerkot, Sindh Province, has proved devastating for the children of a colony of Mithoo nomadic people, with large numbers requiring hospitalisation and at least 10 deaths reported. 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.

    Panama: Dengue surge in east

    The province of Bocas del Toro on the Atlantic coast has reported the highest dengue figures this year. Nearly 2,400 cases have been recorded nation-wide, however the incidence of dengue fever in Bocas del Toro is 4 times higher than the rest of the country. Read more (translate from Spanish).

    United Kingdom: Bad flu season forecast

    Australia’s severe flu season could be a strong indicator of the upcoming influenza season in the UK, according to the chief executive of NHS England. The 2017 total for Australia is 184,438 laboratory confirmed cases and there are still some weeks to run until the end of the 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. Read more on influenza.

    United States of America: Mumps in 2 states; More hepatitis A notifications

    Hawaii’s mumps outbreak continues: Four islands have reported cases (Oahu 334 cases, Kauai 32, Hawaii 17 & Maui 1). According to the state Dept of Health website, approx. 60 percent of the 384 cases have been adults aged 18 years or older. Read more. The 13 mumps cases reported this year in Alaska is a big increase on the 3 recorded over the last 5 years (all of which were contracted elsewhere) and the highest figures in decades. Read more.
    CALIFORNIA is not the only state with a spike in hepatitis A cases. A Michigan-based news source states ‘from Aug. 1, 2016 to Sept. 15, 2017 there have been 319 confirmed cases of hepatitis A, including 14 deaths. Of those cases, nearly 86 percent have been hospitalized.’ Factors involved in the spread of the infection include sexual behaviours, illicit drug use and household member contact. Read more.

    Vanuatu: Prepped for Games

    Early in December Vanuatu will be hosting the 10th Pacific Mini Games when athletes and visitors will be arriving from Australia, New Zealand and many Pacific Islands & territories. A health guidelines factsheet has been published for those planning to attend the Games; it includes the recommendation to consult a medical practitioner regarding the need for routine and recommended vaccinations. Some emphasis is placed on avoiding insect bites as prevention against contracting dengue fever and malaria. Read more.

    Venezuela: More disease woes

    Three years after the country eliminated measles, it’s back. Guyana City in the state of Bolivar is the focus of an outbreak that has produced 38 confirmed cases and another 88 suspected. Read more. Doctors have held a demonstration at the local WHO office in an effort to get more resources to help fight off the resurgence of diseases such as diphtheria and malaria. Read more.