March 2019 updates includes health alerts in Uzbekistan, Paraguay, DRC and Sri Lanka. We also provide an update on Zika Virus and Cyclone Idai.

 

Uzbekistan and Paraguay are malaria free:

  • The World Health Organisation have certified that Uzbekistan is malaria free from December 2018 and Paraguay from June 2018.

 

Ebola in DRC:

  • According to the Ministry of Health in Democratic Republic of the Congo, transmission of Ebola virus disease continues in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces in the east of the country.

  • As of 16 March, there have been 951 cases reported, 886 confirmed cases and 598 deaths since the start of the outbreak.

  • This continuing epidemic in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces in the northeast of the country is the largest ever recorded in DRC and the second largest worldwide.

  • Risk to travellers of becoming infected with the Ebola virus is extremely low.

  • Ebola virus is spread via blood and body fluids of an infected person.

  • Travellers returning from DRC should seek rapid medical attention if they develop flu-like symptoms (such as fever, headache, diarrhoea or general malaise) within 3 weeks after return, and tell the health care provider of your recent trip.

  • For more information, please read here.

 

Ongoing Dengue Fever in Sri Lanka:

  • The Sri Lankan Mistry reports 9477 cases between 1 January and 6 March 2019.

  • All areas of the country are affected.

  • Numbers of Dengue fever in returning travellers continues to increase. All travellers to endemic areas should be aware of the infection. If a traveller develops a fever during or on return from travel, they need to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

  • The mosquitoes mainly bite from dawn to dusk so bite prevention is essential.

  • For more information, please read here.

 

Zika virus update:

  • NaTHNac and Public Health England have updated their advice on the Zika virus, including recategorizing risk areas.

  • As per NaTHNac, couples considering pregnancy are recommended use of contraception and condoms:

  1. If both partners if travelled to “risk” areas, for 3 months (previously 6 months) after return or after last possible ZIKV exposure

  2. If male partner only travelled to “risk” areas, for 3 months (previously 6 months) after return or after last possible ZIKV exposure

  3. If female partner only travelled to “risk” areas, for 2 months after return or after last possible ZIKV exposure.

  • For more information, please read here.

 

Tropical Cyclone Idai: 

  • Countries in southeastern Africa, especially Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, have been severely impacted by Tropical Cyclone Idai, experiencing significant numbers of fatalities, destruction of infrastructure, and resulting in many internally displaced people who are without shelter and food. 

  • The cyclone is ongoing and travel to this region should be carefully considered, as they are still experiencing strong winds and severe flooding. 

  • In the aftermath of the cyclone, there will likely be many negative health implications, especially water-borne diseases such as cholera. If you are in the area, do not eat fresh food that has been in contact with floodwaters and makes sure to wash anything that has been in contact with floodwaters with soap and water. 

  • For more information, please read here.

 

Information from Travel Health Pro, World Health Organisation, Travax and Fit for Travel and compiled by Jo Thompson.