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


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 24th November 2020, there have been over 57.8 million confirmed cases of Coronavirus worldwide with over 1.3 million deaths.  

  • Global acceleration in case incidence has slowed down over the past week.  European and South East Asia regions have a downward trend in cases.  American region has reported an increase in both new cases and deaths.  African regions have reported the highest increase in new cases and deaths this week.

  • 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 to many locations.  These are under constant review. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. COVID free certificates may be required for entry to countries so please check the FCO website. Follow local Government guidance on COVID in each country.

  • COVID-19 is spread via droplets of saliva or discharge from your nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  Practice good respiratory etiquette and do not touch your face.

  • 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 where a mask in public places. When you cough or sneeze, if not wearing a mask, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve, 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.

  • Remember - KEEP DISTANCE - try to keep at least 2 metre away from people not in your household bubble

  • 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 10 days from when the symptoms started.  If you live with others then all your household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.  If your symptoms worsen or are no better after 10 days then contact NHS 111.  

  • If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 then please arrange for a test via NHS.uk or phone 119.

  • An information sheet on COVID-19 is available to here. You can also visit our website for more resources related to COVID-19More information can be found here: WHOFCO.


Worldwide Surge in Measles Cases

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) have reported a surge in measles cases due to COVID-19

  • Efforts to control COVID-19 have resulted in disruptions in vaccination campaigns and cripped efforts to prevent and minimise measles outbreaks

  • As of November 2020, more than 94 million people were at risk of missing vaccines due to a paused measles campaign in 26 countries

  • The measles vaccine course is 2 vaccines (normally in the childhood vaccine course)

  • Measles is an acute viral infection that is spread via airborne or droplet

  • When travelling, please ensure that you have had your vaccine course or have had the disease (giving natural immunity)


Polio Outbreaks

  • There have been a number of new cases of Polio in the past month.

  • There have been new cases in Kouilae, Congo with 1 new case which was linked to the Hulia outbreak in Angola.  Also 2 cases in Saadah province in Yemen, bringing the total to 17 cases in the country. Guinea had 11 cases in October. 

  • Polio is spread between person to person through faecal-oral route and by consuming contaminated food and water.

  • A booster of Polio vaccine is recommended every 10 years if travelling to a country where polio remains a problem.  Please seek travel health advice regarding this. Some countries need a certificate of vaccination. 

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