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Yellow Fever

April 2017: Yellow Fever Outbreak in Brazil!

As of March 31st, the Government of Canada has issued a travel health notice for travelers going to Brazil. There is an outbreak of yellow fever in some areas of Brazil, including the seven states: Bahia, Espirito, Snato, Goias, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Tocantins. For travelers wishing to head to Brazil, the yellow fever vaccination is recommended. It is important to note that the shortage in yellow fever vaccinations is currently still in effect, so be sure to check check in with a Designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre a minimum of SIX WEEKS before departure. Travelers are also asked to consider not travelling to Brazil, or other places with yellow fever, until further notice. If you do travel, remember to bring your Yellow Fever Vaccination Card and to protect yourself from mosquito bites. If you feel ill, check-in with a doctor, and make sure to mention that you’ve traveled to a place with yellow fever.

Source: Travel.gc.ca

Zika Virus

Jan 2017: Zika Virus Update

Local transmission of Zika virus has been reported in Florida and Texas (in the United States). Individuals travelling to these areas are reminded to:

  • avoid travel if you are pregnant or planning pregnancy
  • protect themselves against mosquito bites using a variety of insect repellent, permethrin coated clothing, nets, and avoiding the outdoors during dawn and dusk hours, when there are the most mosquitoes
  • avoid sex during and 6 months after visiting an area with Zika virus, especially with partners that have been infected with Zika virus
  • after returning, pay attention to your health; if you develop any symptoms of Zika or feel sick, let your doctor or other healthcare provider know, and let them know you have recently travelled to an area with Zika virus

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause Guillain-Barre Syndrom and microcephaly in fetuses of pregnant women.

Source: Public Health Agency of Canada

Polio News

Polio

March 2017: Polio Update

ome countries currently require proof of vaccination against polio, especially if they intend to stay in a country with identified polio for 1 month or more. While most children in Canada recieve the polio vaccine as part of their routine childhood immunizations, all travellers are asked to ensure their polio vaccinations are up to date. Travellers are asked to:

  • adults: consider getting a booster shot; WHO may require adults to recieve an extra booster vaccination between 4-12 months before international travel to some polio countries, even if immunity is up-to-date.
  • children: make sure the child’s vaccination is up to date; check in with a travel clinic and your pediatrician if you are unsure
  • ensure safe hygiene practices; washing hands before food consumption, ensuring that food is fully cooked and washed in clean water, washing after using the bathroom or changing diapers, and use of alcohol-based sanitizer where soap/ clean water is unavailable.

Polio is a viral illness that is primarily spread from unclean hygiene practices, especially with contaminated water or not practing safe hand-washing practices after using the bathroom/changing diapers. In some cases, polio can cause paralysis. The disease is most dangerous in children under the age of 5, although it can affect people at any age.

Source: Source: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

Lassa Fever News

Lassa Fever in West Africa

There are currently 3 Lassa Fever outbreaks in West Africa: Liberia - since January 2016
Liberia - since January 2016
Nigeria - since 2015
Togo - since 2016
The outbreak in Benin was officially ended in May 23, 2016. For travelers heading to West Africa (Liberia, Nigeria, and Togo), the Public Health Agency recommends practice of usual precautions, including avoiding contact with rats (esp. urine and feces), wash hands frequently and thoroughly, clean surfaces, and avoid close contact with sick people. People who will be health care facilities are more at risk. Wear personal protective equipment.

  • Severe symptoms can include: bleeding from mouth, nose, gastro intestinal tract.
  • Health care workers are at greater risk in these areas; please wear personal protective equipment, including faces shields, gowns, gloves when interacting with patients
  • Spread by infected rats contaminating foods through their urine and feces
Source: Public Health Agency of Canada

Lassa Fever

Lassa Fever - April 27, 2016

As of May 2016 there have been recent outbreaks of Lassa fever reported in South Africa. Lassa fever is caused by a virus which is spread by rats carrying the disease. The virus can be transmitted to humans through the urine and feces of infected rats. Transmission to humans commonly occurs in areas with poor hygienic practices, particularly in places with improper food storage protocols.

  • Severe symptoms can include: bleeding from mouth, nose, gastro intestinal tract.
  • From January to May 2016 there have been 38 suspected cases of Lassa fever in Liberia. Local and international health responses have helped manage the disease and prevent symptoms from occurring.
  • 273 cases and 149 deaths due to Lassa fever have been reported in Nigeria from August 2015 and May 2016
  • Spread by infected rats contaminating foods through their urine and feces
Source: World Health Organization (WHO)

Insect Bites

Insect Bite Prevention - April 5, 2016

Insect bites are a common nuisance for us. However, in many parts of the world insect bites can be dangerous. Insects are common carriers of many diseases in developing nations and travellers should be aware of the risks which they may be exposing themselves to when travelling abroad. Some common diseases affecting travellers which are spread by insect bites are: yellow fever, malaria, chikungunya. Travellers should be aware of measurements they can take to prevent themselves from being bitten by insets.

  • Wear long sleeved loose clothing
  • Spray insect repellent on exposed skin and clothes
  • Educate your self on the risks you are exposing your self when travelling
  • Monitor the recommendations from local authorities related to health care facilities in countries currently experiencing cases from insect bites
Source: The World Health Organization (WHO)

Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo
November, 2016

In order to enter Angola or the Democratic Republic of Congo, proof of a yellow fever vaccination must be shown for all travellers who are 9 months or older. In addition, they should protect against mosquito bites. Yellow fever can be fatal, if not treated/found in a timely manner. It is caused by a mosquito-transmitted virus, causing muscle pains, fevers, chills, and jaundice (Yellow eyes and skin). In addition, individuals often present with nausea, vomiting, and decreased appetite. The Public Health Agency of Canada suggests that all travellers get vaccinated against yellow fever, if they are planning on heading to an area with reported yellow fever.

Source: Travel.gc.ca