Listed below are countries with current health alerts for travellers. If you are planning a trip over the next few months, please take the time to read up on any disease outbreaks pertinent to the destinations you are visiting. It is advised to make an appointment with your GP at least 6 weeks prior to departing to determine if any travel vaccinations are necessary and to collect scripts for travel medicines and anti-malarial medication if it is needed. Our Practice Nurses – Tanya, Susan, Sarah and Jane are available to immunise all travel patients in consultation with you GP.
Remember to visit the official Government website – smartraveller.gov.au . This website offers great travel tips and current health alerts for Australian and International travel. This website allows you to register your trip, allows you to subscribe for travel updates and advice and gives you information on taking out travel insurance for your impending trip.
The following “Travel Health Alerts” have been resourced from the following reputable Travel Health and Medical Advice for travellers websites -:
Travelvax Newsletters – January and February 2016
World Health Organisation (WHO) – Disease Surveillance and Outbreaks – February 2016
ZIKA VIRUS – OUTBREAKS IN THE CARIBBEAN AND LATIN AMERICA INCLUDING BRAZIL, COLUMBIA, COSTA RICA, ECUADOR, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS AND JAMAICA.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a travel warning for all travellers to areas where the Zika Virus has been detected. The travel warning is primarily for pregnant women as the Zika Virus has been linked to neurological disorders and neonatal malformations.
This outbreak is a reminder that Zika is circulating in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, as well as the Americas and Caribbean regions.
Generally a mild disease, Zika’s symptoms last 4-7 days and include a rash, pain in the joints, and the eye condition, conjunctivitis. With the apparent exception of pregnant women, long-term ill-effects are rare, although the joint pain may linger for weeks – even months for some.
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.
There is no vaccine or preventative medication that can prevent Zika Virus. Travellers should take particular care to avoid being bitten just after sunrise and just before sunset, the main feeding time for Aedes mosquitoes
AUSTRALIA’S ZIKA VIRUS SURVEILLANCE
Monitoring for the mosquito-borne Zika Virus has begun in Queensland’s far-north as well as in nearby Papua New Guinea. Outbreaks of Dengue Fever, which is also spread by Aedes mosquitoes, occur each summer in the tropical far north, raising fears that Zika could also gain a foothold there. DFAT advises pregnant Australian women to avoid travel to Zika-infected areas.
DENGUE FEVER – OUTBREAKS IN -: FIJI, MALAYSIA, INDONESIA, NEW CALEDONIA, SINGAPORE, INDIA,THAILAND, HAWAII, VIETNAM, ARGENTINA, PHILIPPINES.
There have been increasing numbers of Dengue Fever cases reported in the countries listed above. Dengue remains a risk for travellers to most tropical destinations, regardless of where you stay or for how long. It is transmitted via mosquitoes. There is no vaccine or preventative medication. Apply an insect repellent containing an effective active ingredient, such as DEET, (ie: Bushman’s, RID Tropical) Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, to exposed skin at all times when outdoors, and cover up – especially when mosquitoes are most active. See also below – “Travel Tips – Insect Protection”.
CHOLERA – OUTBREAKS IN -: INDIA, MALAWI.
Cholera continues to cause problems in India and Malawai. Cholera is generally a low risk for most short-stay travellers and vaccination would normally be recommended for longer stays in endemic regions – particularly if an outbreak was occurring. Cholera is usually spread in contaminated water. Travellers should adhere to strict personal hygiene guidelines and choose only safe food and beverages. For example – drink bottled water, do not eat salads from a salad bar, choose fruits that you can peel yourself, do not have ice in your drinks, use bottled water to clean teeth etc. There is an oral vaccine available – DUKORAL for protection against Cholera and E Coli/ETEC infection (travellers diarrhoea). Please talk to your Doctor or Practice Nurse to determine if this vaccine is appropriate for you.
TYPHOID – CASES REPORTED-: SOUTH AFRICA.
Typhoid cases have been reported in South Africa in recent weeks. Typhoid is a common worldwide bacterial disease transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the faeces of an infected person, The bacterium that causes Typhoid Fever may be spread through poor hygiene habits and public sanitation conditions, and sometimes also by flying insects feeding on faeces. Those travelling to countries where Typhoid is prevalent should receive a Typhoid vaccine at least 14 days prior to travel. The vaccine lasts for approximately 3 years
MUMPS – OUTBREAKS IN -: JAPAN.
Health authorities fear a nationwide Mumps epidemic, with increased numbers of children diagnosed in January/February 2016. The disease returns in cycles: In years when the disease is prevalent, cases tend to increase from winter to summer, raising the prospect of a national epidemic in 2016.
While Mumps is generally a mild disease in children, it can cause more severe illness in adults, including encephalitis (1 in 1000 cases) and permanent hearing loss (1 in 20,000 cases). All travellers should ensure they have had two “Measles/Mumps/Rubella” combination vaccines prior to travel if they have not had wild strain Measles and/or Mumps at any stage. Please discuss with your GP or Practice Nurse if you require any further information