Welcome to our August update on disease outbreaks around the world, from our lead nurse Jo Thompson. This month we include updates from DRC, Myanmar, Uganda, Kenya, Benin and an update on Dengue Fever. 

 

Ebola in DRC

  • Ebola began in DRC in August 2018 in the north east of the country.  Since 18 August 2019, a total of 2877 cases have been confirmed with 1934 deaths.  

  • The risk to travellers is generally extremely low. 

  • Exit screening is in operation for travellers leaving Goma airport, DRC.

  • If you are unwell within 21 days post trip to DRC then get medical advice.  Call NHS 111 or contact your GP by telephone. Mention that you have returned from DRC and may have a potential exposure to Ebola and include the dates and itinerary of your travel.

  • For more information, please read here.

 

Malaria cases increased in Uganda

  • The Ugandan Ministry of Health have reported an upsurge of malaria cases across the country in June 2019, compared to 2018.  These cases have increased by 40%. This has been associated with the rainy season and low bed mosquito net use. 

  • The entire country is considered high risk for malaria  and antimalarial chemoprophylaxis is advised. 

  • Good bite prevention is recommended, especially for night time such as using bug spray and sleeping under a good, ideally impregnated net.  More information here.  

 

Dengue Fever

  • There has been an increase of Dengue fever worldwide, recently in Sri Lanka, Singapore and USA.

  • Dengue fever is spread via daytime biting mosquitoes. This is typically in urban areas in Asia, Africa, Caribbean, Central and South America.

  • Use bite prevention, such as bug spray and covering up, to prevent any bites. 

  • Most people infected are symptom free.  Symptoms include fever, headaches, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash.  The infection is usually self-limiting and recovery is typically 3-4 days after the rash appears.  A small number of people develop more severe illness and if left untreated can be fatal. More information here.

 

Monkeypox in DRC

  • There have been 3015 cases, including 64 deaths, since the beginning of 2019.  Sankuru province reported 63% of the cases.

  • Monkeypox is a rare infection related to smallpox.  It is unusual in travellers and tends to occur in isolated rural or forest areas of central and west Africa.

  • Most cases result from direct contact with the blood, body fluids or skin lesion of an infected animal such as monkeys, giant rats, squirrels and rabbits.  Rodents are a major source of infection. Eating undercooked meat of infected animals is a possible risk factor.

  • More information can be read here.

 

Polio in Myanmar and Benin

  • 3 cases have been reported in 2019.  The Last case was reported in Papun district, Myanmar

  • A case has been reported in the Kalale district in the Borgou state of Benin as well.

  • All travellers to polio affected areas, should be fully vaccinated against polio (every 10 years).  Residents (a visitors for more than 4 weeks) from an infected area should receive an additional dose of OPV or inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) within 4 weeks to 12 months of travel.

  • More information here for Myanmar and Benin.

 

Leishmaniasis in Kenya

  • There have been 1986 cases of Leishmaniasis in 2019 so far.  

  • Travellers to rural and forest /jungle areas of infected regions will be most at risk. The areas are Wajir County and Garissa County.

  • Travellers should be advised to avoid sandfly bites by avoiding outdoor activities after dusk, covering skin with clothing, using bug spray, sleeping under a net and using fans/ventilators which disrupt the movement of sand flies as they are weak fliers. 

  • There is no vaccine.

  • More information here.


 

Information from Travel Health Pro, World Health Organisation, Travax and Fit for Travel .

Compiled by Jo Thompson.