July 2019 health outbreaks around the world

Welcome to our July update on disease outbreaks around the world, from our lead nurse JO THOMPSON. This month we include updates from DRC, China, Ethiopia, Uganda and the Philippines. 


Ebola in DRC

  • Ebola began in DRC in August 2018 in the north east of the country.  Since 17 July 2019, a total of 2,532 cases have been confirmed with 1,705 deaths.  

  • On the 17 July 2019, the World Health Organisation declared the ongoing Ebola outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Importance, recognising the scale of the outbreak and the challenges involved. They have also called for further international support.

  • The risk to travellers is generally extremely low. There are restrictions on travel and trade.

  • 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.

  • More information here.


Polio in China (Sichuan Province)

  • 1 case of Polio was reported in a patient that was unwell on 25 April 2019 in the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province.  

  • Polio is not normally present here but the virus is the same one that is found on environmental sample in Xinjiang Province in 2018.

  • All travellers going to Polio-affected areas must be fully vaccinated against Polio.  Residents (and visitors for more than 4 weeks) from the infected areas should receive an additional dose of Polio vaccine within 4 weeks to 12 months of travel.

  • More information here.


Cholera in Uganda

  • The World Health Organisation has reported an outbreak of cholera in Bududa district on the border with Kenya. A total of 11 cases reported so far.

  • Advice to travellers - Cholera is rare but mild cases may present as travellers’ diarrhoea.

  • Travellers should maintain good food and water precautions and hand hygiene.

  • Cholera vaccine is recommended for volunteers/aid workers/medical personnel in disaster relief situations where Cholera outbreaks are likely.

  • More information here.


Zika in Ethiopia

  • On the 2nd July 2019, the World Health Organisation added Ethiopia to their list of countries in their Zika classification.

  • Pregnant women should consider postponing non-essential travel to this country until after pregnancy.  

  • More information here.


Philippines declare a national Dengue alert

  • On Monday 15 July 2019, the Philippines declared a national alert for the first time, as Dengue fever cases spiked.

  • A total of 106,630 Dengue cases have been reported from 1 January to 29 June 2019, which is an 85 % increase on cases in the same period of 2018.

  • About 450 people have died from Dengue Fever this year.

  • Regions that have exceeded the epidemic include Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Northern Mindanao.


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