Beyond our Borders June 2019

BEYOND OUR BORDERS

JUNE 2019

Influenza: Australia, Chile, South Africa, and New Zealand

As of 7 June 2019, Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System laboratories reported 5 285 specimens tested positive for influenza viruses, of which 3 157 (59.7%) were typed as influenza A and 2 128 (40.3%) as influenza B. Influenza A (H3N2) viruses predominated in Oceania and South Africa. However, influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses predominated in South America.

 Influenza is a viral infection that affects mainly the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat). Infection usually lasts for about a week. Symptoms include high fever, aching muscles, headache, severe malaise, non-productive cough, sore throat and rhinitis. The virus is transmitted easily from person to person via droplets and small particles produced when infected people cough or sneeze. 

 Most infected people recover within 1 to 2 weeks without medical treatment. In the very young, the elderly, and those with other serious medical conditions, infection can lead to severe complications such as pneumonia and death.

Amoebic dysentery: Kenya

The Public Health Office of Lamu in Kenya reported an outbreak of more than 100 people infected with amoebic dysentery. 

 Amoebic dysentery is a protozoan parasitic infection of the colon. Transmission occurs through drinking or eating uncooked food, such as fruit that may have been washed in contaminated water, or drinking contaminated water. It is most common in tropical areas with untreated water. Symptoms include diarrhoea, cramping, bloody stools, vomiting and fever. In severe cases, liver infections can occur. It is important to exclude other causes of bloody diarrhoea when treating infected people.

 Good hygiene practices such as handwashing and cleaning food with clean water have been advised. Residents have been urged not to buy ready-made food on the streets, as it could be infected. Other public health responses included health education, in addition, free insecticide is being distributed to all homes, markets and public places to kill flies that may spread disease.   

Circulating vaccine-derived polio virus: Cameroon

On 23 May 2019, WHO received notification through the Global Polio Laboratory Network of the detection of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) from an environmental sample collected on 20 April 2019 in a hospital in Northern Cameroon, which borders Borno state in Nigeria and Chad. No associated cases of paralysis have been identified thus far. Genetic sequencing confirms that the isolate is associated with the ongoing cVDPV2 outbreak in neighboring Nigeria, which originated in Jigawa state and spread to other areas of Nigeria, as well as internationally to the Republic of Niger in 2018.

 Circulating vaccine-derived polio virus emerges in populations where under-immunisation occurs. An excreted vaccine from a child immunised with oral polio vaccine can circulate in communities for an extended period of time leaving under-immunised communities susceptible to the disease.

 WHO recommends all travellers to polio-affected areas be fully vaccinated against polio. Strengthening of surveillance systems for acute flaccid paralysis has also been recommended. 

Dengue: Tanzania

A recent case of dengue in a Spanish traveller was reported at a sentinel site in Tanzania. Between     1 August 2018 – 28 April 2019, 1 288 suspected cases of dengue, including two deaths, were reported in the United Republic of Tanzania, of which 948 were confirmed. The most affected regions are Dar es Salaam and Tanga.

 Dengue is caused by any one of four related dengue viruses, transmitted by mosquitoes. Persons with dengue may present with fever, nausea and vomiting, headache, joint pain, rash, or abdominal pain. Public health measures for control include reinforcing vector control, enhancing disease surveillance and social mobilisation through community awareness.

Communicated by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases

28 June 2019

 

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Important Notice

You are advised to visit your general practice surgery or a travel medicine clinic at least 6 weeks before you travel. However, it is never too late to seek advice.

If you have a medical condition, you are advised to discuss the suitability of the trip before you book.

 

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