A monthly update on disease outbreaks around the world, from our Lead Nurse JO THOMPSON. 

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COVID-19 Update

  • The first case of Coronavirus was reported on 31 December 2019 in Wuhan city in China.  It has since spread worldwide.
  • As of 23rd July 2020, there have been 14 971 036 confirmed cases of Coronavirus worldwide in 217 countries with 618,017 deaths.  
  • Travellers are reminded that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are travel and border restrictions, the FCO  advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.  Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. 
  • A reminder of the common symptoms: high fever, new continuous cough, loss of or change in normal sense of taste or smell.
  • Remember - HAND HYGIENE - Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas.  Use alcohol based hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
  • Remember - RESPIRATORY HYGIENE - To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue in a bin immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitiser. 
  • Remember - GENERAL HYGIENE - Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.
  • Please remember to follow your local Government guidelines on coronavirus precautions.
  • The UK government states -  If you have these symptoms, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for at least 7 days from when the symptoms started.  If your symptoms worsen or are no better after 7 days then contact NHS 111.  
  • Our COVID-19 information sheet is here.
  • You can see all of our other COVID-19 resources here.
  • More information can be found here: WHONHS | FCO

Rabies in a cat in Italy

  • A cat was diagnosed with Rabies on 27 June 2020 in Arezzo, near Tuscany, Italy.  
  • The cat was diagnosed with bat rabies and has since died.
  • Rabies is usually fatal, once symptoms develop.  If you have been licked on an open wound or bitten or scratched by any warm blooded animal including dog, cat, bats.  Please wash the wound and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • More information on Rabies here

Ebola in northern DRC outbreak

  • On the 12 July, there was another death reported from Ebola in north DRC
  • There has been an outbreak since 1 June 2020 in 6 health zones in the north DRC
  • There have been 49 cases and 20 deaths
  • The risk to travellers is generally extremely low. 
  • When we are able to travel again and any individuals are going to DRC then please remember; 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

Plague in DRC

  • The health zone of Rethy in Ituri province, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has seen an upsurge of plague cases since June 2020. 
  • The first case, a 12-year-old girl, reported to a local health centre on 12 June experiencing a headache, fever, cough, and an enlarged lymph node. She died on the same day and further deaths from the community due to suspected cases of plague were subsequently reported.
  • From 11th June though 15 July, 6 out of 22 health areas have been affected within Rethy health zone (11 villages), with a total of 45 cases including 9 deaths.
  • PlaGUE is an infectious disease caused by bacteria that spreads to humans from animals, usually rats flea bites.  
  • Plague to severe disease and can be fatal.
  • Very rare in travellers.  
  • To prevent the plague, please protect against flea bites by using DEET repellents and wearing long trousers.  Avoid contact with dead animals or infected tissue. Avoid anyone with confirmed or suspected plague and any areas where plague has been recently reported.
  • More information can be found here

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