World Travel Health Alerts – October 19, 2011

Schoolies travel: Some healthy advice


We’ve all read the grim, at times tragic, headlines involving young Australians overseas recently.

They have done nothing to reassure parents of Year 12 students about to travel overseas unsupervised for schoolies holidays or longer gap-year trips.

Of course, even if you could, grounding kids is not the answer. Travel brings maturity, and who doesn’t want that for their son or daughter?

So, as thousands of students around Australia prepare to spread their wings, Travelvax Australia has prepared a pre-travel checklist covering vaccinations and other healthy advice.


WORLD TRAVEL HEALTH ALERTS – October 19, 2011

– INDONESIA: Bird flu feared in new Bali death; Virus reaches Lombok
– ECUADOR: Tough new rules for travellers to curb measles
– DENGUE: Risk highest in Vietnam’s south; Weekly bulletin
– CHINA: Massive vaccination campaign to halt polio
– INDONESIA: East Java battles diphtheria epidemic
– PHILIPPINES: Soaring leptospirosis rates in Western Visayas
– INDIA: North’s encephalitis outbreak now among worst ever
– INDIA: Malaria rates skyrocket in Jaipur
– CORFU: Three more Brits succumb to Legionnaires’
– AFRICA: Disease follows on the heels of drought
– MADAGASCAR: Deadly plague returns to central province
– ZIMBABWE: Diarrhoea claims more young lives
– KENYA: Flooding raises fears of disease
– MEXICO: Hepatitis A hits local schools
– PHILIPPINES: Rising HIV-AIDS rates defy global trend
– TB deaths declining across globe

INDONESIA: Bird flu feared in new Bali death; Virus reaches Lombok
Bird flu (H5N1) is again suspected in the death of the mother of the two boys who died last week in Jehem village (Bangli Regency, Bali), raising fears the virus had been transmitted from person to person. Tests have yet to confirm the cause of the 3 deaths. More details.
Meanwhile, bird flu has now spread to 9 districts on Bali, as well as to neighboring Lombok, where a village was isolated to prevent the virus spreading further. More details.
Advice to travellers: As stated previously, bird flu is a low risk to travellers. However, the virus is spreading in new regions in Bali and Lombok. Australians visiting affected areas should avoid eating poultry from street stalls, and handling chickens or caged birds in live animal markets. Read more on bird flu.

ECUADOR: Tough new rules proposed for travellers to curb measles
Travellers leaving or entering the country from international airports may soon require a certificate of vaccination against measles.
The proposal came about after Ecuador recorded 93 cases – most in Tunguragua province, and several in Quito, Guayaquil, and Guayas. Testing has revealed the disease was ‘imported’ from the USA and Africa. A national immunisation campaign will begin next month. More details Promed Oct 1
NEW ZEALAND: Authorities have warned Rugby World Cup tourists are among thousands exposed to a measles-infected man who worked at a busy coffee and ice cream shop in Wellington. More details.
Advice to travellers: With epidemics and outbreaks continuing in many parts of the world, Australian travellers should ensure they are protected against measles. Those who have not had measles or have not received two documented doses of live virus vaccine should consider a booster, regardless of their destination. We also advise travellers to check their immunisation status for childhood diseases such as whooping cough, diphtheria, mumps, and polio, as part of their pre-travel medical preparations.

DENGUE: Risk highest in Vietnam’s south; Weekly bulletin
Vietnam’s southern provinces have recorded 35,308 of the 38,684 dengue cases recorded nationwide this year – 25% of the total in Ho Chi Minh City, according to WHO figures.
This week’s dengue bulletin includes reports from Pakistan (Punjab), India (Delhi; Chandigarh, Haryana and Punjab states), Philippines (Aklan province), Taiwan (Taipei), Singapore, Paraguay, and the USA (Palm Beach, Florida). More details (ProMED, Oct 16).
The WHO says the dengue problem is too big for many nations to overcome alone and needs a concerted effort from neighbouring countries. Of the estimated 2.5 billion people at risk of dengue globally, about 1.8 billion (72%) live in the Asia Pacific region, with Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore among the worst effected countries. More details.

CHINA: Massive vaccination campaign to halt polio
More than 9 million people in remote Xinjiang province have received oral polio vaccine following an outbreak that has killed one person and paralyzed 17 others. The more severe type 1 strain had spread from neighbouring Pakistan, which borders Xinjiang. Along with India, Afghanistan and Nigeria, Pakistan is one of four countries where the disease remains endemic. More details.
Advice to travellers: While polio is a low risk for travellers, we recommend they check their immunisation status for all childhood diseases, including polio, whooping cough, tetanus, diphtheria, mumps, and measles 6 weeks before departure.

INDONESIA: East Java battles diphtheria epidemic
A diphtheria epidemic has killed 11 children and infected 328 others in East Java province this year, prompting a mass vaccination program in the worst effected regencies and municipalities. These include Bangkalan, Banyuwangi, Blitar, Gresik, Mojokerto, Pamekasan, Pasuruan, Sampang, Sidoarjo, Sumenep, and Surabaya. More details.
Advice to travellers: Diphtheria is a bacterial disease transmitted through oral or respiratory droplets, usually during close physical contact. Diphtheria is now uncommon in developed countries because of routine vaccination, but remains endemic in many regions of the world. We recommend travellers check their immunisation status for diphtheria and other childhood diseases 6 weeks before departure. Read more.

PHILIPPINES: Soaring leptospirosis rates in Western Visayas
This year, leptospirosis infections (2061 cases, 156 deaths) are almost double the number recorded nationally during the same period last year. Worst effected regions have been Western Visayas (824 cases), National Capital Region (411), Central Luzon (166), and Davao (131). More details.
Advice to travellers: Leptospirosis is typically associated with direct exposure to floodwaters and, as such, pres ents a low risk for most travellers. Australians travellers to flood-effected areas of the Philippines should first wash fresh vegetables and fruit in clean water, and cook or peel produce before eating.

INDIA: North’s encephalitis outbreak now among worst ever
Encephalitis has now claimed more than 430 lives – mainly children – in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. The toll makes it one of the worst ever outbreaks in the impoverished region, which borders Nepal. More details.

INDIA: Malaria rates skyrocket in Jaipur
Malaria numbers are soaring in Jaipur (Rajasthan State) with an average 100 people from the Nagaur, Churu, Sriganganagar, Hanumangarh, Jaisalmer, and Jodhpur districts admitted for treatment each day. Two thirds of 22 deaths were due to the more severe P. falciparum (pf) strain. More details.
Advice to travellers: Malaria is endemic year-round in rural and urban areas of India, including major cities such as New Delhi. The risk is higher during and immediately after the monsoon rains. Travellers should discuss their itinerary and the need for preventative malaria medication at their nearest Travelvax clinic, or with their healthcare provider. For more advice, call Travelvax on 1300 360 164.

CORFU: Three more Brits succumb to Legionnaires’
British tourists travelling to the Greek island of Corfu are being warned to watch for symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease after 3 new cases brought the number of UK visitors infected to 12. The patients – whose ages range from 39 to 79 – visited different parts of the island and investigators have been unable t o identify the source. More details.
Advice to travellers: Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious. It is transmitted by breathing in contaminated mist or vapor, usually in spas and hot tubs, and presents a low risk to most travellers.

AFRICA: Disease follows on the heels of drought
The UN reports new outbreaks of disease in drought-effected Horn of Africa countries. An estimated 10,000 people now have dengue fever in the Kenyan town of Mandera, while 7-8000 cases of measles have been diagnosed in central and southern Somalia. More details.

MADAGASCAR: Deadly plague returns to central province
Pneumonic plague – a highly infectious, airborne form of the disease – has killed one person and infected five others in Antananarivo province, one of 12 regions of the island nation where the outbreaks occur. More details.
(ProMED, Oct 14.)
Advice to travellers: A low risk to travellers, pneumonic plague is rare. It has a short incubation period of 1-3 days and is invariably fatal unless effective treatment is begun within 24 hours of exposure.

ZIMBABWE: Diarrhoea claims more young lives
At least 7 children have died and more than 6000 are being treated for acute diarrhoea in the Masvingo and Kadoma districts. According to UNICEF, diarrhea is responsible for 7.7% of all deaths in Africa. Cholera killed more than 4000 people in Zimbabwe in a massive outbreak in 2008. More details.

KENYA: Flooding raises fears of disease
Flash flooding in coastal areas of Mombasa in recent weeks have caused seven deaths, and damaged roads, schools, and sewerage systems – leading to fears of disease outbreaks. The main road from Mombasa to Tanzania is impassible. More details.

MEXICO: Hepatitis A hits local schools
Chihuahua’s state health department has confirmed 40 suspected cases in the town of Hidalgo del Parral, mostly among students in local schools. More details. (ProMED, Oct 14.)
Advice to travellers: The risk of HAV infection for travellers varies with living conditions, length of stay, and incidence of hepatitis A in the area visited. For travellers to developing countries, risk of infection is usually significant, particularly for those who live in or visit rural areas, trekkers, or those who frequently eat or drink in settings of poor sanitation. Vaccination is highly protective.

PHILIPPINES: Rising HIV-AIDS rates defy global trend
With around 200 new cases each month, HIV-AIDS rates are soaring, according to new government figures. The upward trend is in contrast to declining numbers elsewhere in the world. More details.

TB deaths declining across globe
The number of deaths from tuberculosis (TB) and the number of new cases are both declining worldwide, according to new data from the WHO. The number of deaths fell from 1.8 million in 2003 to 1.4 million last year, while the number of people who fell ill fell slightly from 9 million in 2005 to 8.8 million in 2010. Last year, a rapid test for drug-resistant TB was unveiled in more than two dozen countries, allowing patients to be treated sooner. More details.

Travelvax Australia compiles this weekly bulletin of global travel health alerts, risk assessments and advice for the information of Australian travellers and the travel industry. Please contact our travel health adviso ry service on 1300 360 164 for broad destination-specific advice and vaccination recommendations. Recommended vaccines, travel medication, trip-specific advice and accessories are available during a medical consultation with a travel health professional at any of Travelvax Australia’s 32 clinics. Visit our website or call 1300 360 164 for details.

Source = Travelvax
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