World travel health alerts November 15th, 2023

World travel health alerts for 14th of November 2023.

Advised to drink tap water only after many falling ill from bottled drinks

Health authorities in Zagreb, Croatia have withdrawn bottled drinks from restaurants and shops after reposrt of many people falling sick and/or suffering throat injuries from suspected drinks. It is recommended to only drink tap water while the investigation is undertaken. Read more

Advice for travellers

Food poisoning, a type of foodborne illness, is a sickness people get from something they ate or drank. The causes are germs or other harmful things in the food or beverage.

Symptoms of food poisoning often include upset stomach, diarrhea and vomiting. Symptoms usually start within hours or several days of eating the food. Most people have mild illness and get better without treatment.

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever outbreak infects health workers in Pakistan

The Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) outbreak in Pakistan’s Balochistan province has now infected hospital workers, with one death. CCHF is a viral haemorrhagic fever transmitted through ticks, however the virus can lead to epidemics in people exposed to infected body fluids. Read more

Advice for travellers

Sporadic cases of CCHF virus occur. The disease, which has a fatality rate of 10-40%, is more common in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East, and Asia, as well as countries south of the 50th parallel north. CCHF virus presents a low risk for most traveller as it is transmitted either directly by tick bites or through contact with the blood or tissue of infected animals during and immediately after slaughter. Read more about CCHF virus.

Monkeypox outbreak escalates across European countries

Monkeypox cases are continuing to be reported with a significant increase in the European Region -  Portugal has reported the highest increase over the last month, with 21 countries also  reporting an increase compared to the previous month. Read more

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

Health officials declare an influenza epidemic

Puerto Rico has had over 25,000 reported cases, with 900 hospitalizations and 42 deaths since July. Epidemiologists note this is more than 6 times the cases seen over the same time last year, with most cases in children under 19 years of age. Read more

Advice for travellers

Seasonal flu is the most common vaccine-preventable travel-related illness in most years 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 of age. Read more about influenza.

Increase in Tuberculosis notifications

The UK health security agency (UKHSA) reported 3,628 cases of Tuberculosis (TB) in the last year -  an 8.1% increase in comparison to 2022. The highest areas of notification were in London in the North East, Yorkshire, the Humber, and West Midlands. Read more

Advice for travellers

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that can affect any part of your body, but most commonly infects your lungs. The disease can be latent (where you have no symptoms and are not infectious), or active (where you are unwell and infectious). TB is treated with a combination of antibiotics over a period of at least 6 months. The BCG vaccine prevents you becoming very unwell with TB, but it is only recommended in Australia for people at high risk of exposure to TB or children under 5 travelling overseas to countries with risk of TB infection. Read more

Southern California - first case of locally acquired dengue

The 2023 outbreak of dengue in the USA has had most cases reported from the state of Florida, however, a case has now been reported in Pasadena, California, from an infected resident who has not travelled outside the USA. This is the first confirmed locally acquired case of dengue in California. 38 travel related cases have been reported in 2023. 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. 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.

The first vaccine against chikungunya virus – spread by mosquitos, is approved

US health authorities on Thursday approved the world's first vaccine for chikungunya, a virus spread by infected mosquitoes that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have considered to be "an emerging global health threat." Read more

Advice for travellers

Chikungunya infections continue to spread across the Caribbean and Americas. The disease has symptoms similar to dengue fever and is transmitted by day-time feeding Aedes mosquitoes. 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.

Legionnaires' rise in 2 New Jersey counties

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is investigating over 40 cases of Legionnaires' disease reported since August, with cases confirmed in the counties of Middlesex and Union. Read more

Advice for travellers

Legionnaire’s disease occurs worldwide and outbreaks have been associated with cruise ships, hotels, and resorts. The bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease is found in the airborne droplets of warm, fresh water, such as from fountains, spas, showers and the cooling towers of buildings. Over 50s, current or former smokers, those with a chronic lung condition, and the immunocompromised are at higher risk of developing illness after exposure. Read more.