Global Health Risks - Week 23 - Year 2018

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Stay vigilant and stay healthy while you journey Perpetual Travellers. Here are the Health Risks for Week 23:

Congo (DRC)
SPECIAL ADVISORY: Ebola in Equateur Province
Two more cases confirmed; Angola closes its border with DRC in Malanje province. An Ebola outbreak has been declared in Bikoro, Equateur Province, as well as the provincial capital city of Mbandaka. Ebola is spread by contact with the blood or other bodily fluids (especially vomit and diarrhoea) of infected or dead people. Healthcare workers, household members and people participating in traditional funeral practices (touching the body) are at high risk. International SOS is monitoring the situation closely. Defer non-essential travel to the Bikoro/Ikoko-Impenge, Ingende, Iboko and Mbandaka until outbreak control measures have been definitively established. In addition, avoid direct contact with sick people. Do not participate in traditional funerals.

Cholera outbreak
Outbreaks of cholera have been reported in Adamawa, Borno,Plateau and Yobe States. Cholera spreads via contaminated food and water. Symptoms include vomiting and profuse, watery diarrhoea which can lead to severe dehydration. Travellers staying in quality accommodation with access to safe food and water are at low risk. To prevent infection, pay strict attention to hygiene and consider vaccination if likely to be exposed to unsanitary conditions or have limited access to safe food and water.

Yellow fever: An outbreak of yellow fever has been ongoing since September 2017
Cases have been confirmed in ten states. The disease is persistently present throughout the country. Authorities are implementing measures to prevent further spread. Yellow fever is a potentially severe viral illness, spread via mosquito bites. Vaccination and mosquito bite prevention can greatly reduce the chances of getting infected. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers over 9 months of age going to Nigeria. In addition, proof of vaccination is required from everyone over 1 year of age arriving from a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission.

Rise in Dengue
Latest update: increase in case numbers. An outbreak of dengue fever is underway. The disease is spread by mosquitoes, and is present in both rural and urban areas. Dengue symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches and sometimes a rash. Some people, especially those who have been infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. Prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites. Although there is a vaccine against dengue, it is not recommended for travellers as it may increase the risk of severe disease.

Measles outbreak
A measles outbreak is underway. Bolivar state is most affected, and the majority of cases have been young children. Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus that spreads from person-to-person via infected droplets. Outbreaks occur frequently in under-vaccinated populations. Common symptoms include fever, cough and a characteristic rash. The illness can result in serious complications, particularly when very young children, the elderly or pregnant women are infected. All travellers should ensure they are fully immunised against measles.

Suspected Polio Activity
International SOS has identified reports of suspected polio cases in Delta Amacuro state. Other investigations have not confirmed these cases and following contact with international health agencies, it’s understood that further test results are awaited. In the event that cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis are confirmed as polio, the World Health Organization may initiate changes to vaccine recommendations. Polio is a highly contagious viral illness that causes paralysis and death. The disease is spread directly from an infected person or through ingestion of contaminated food or water. International SOS is monitoring the situation closely and will keep its members updated as more information becomes available.