Our earlier post said  “Those travelling to Asian or some African countries are at risk”, however there is currently NO risk of catching Chikungunya in Australia.

Australian travellers have caught the disease elsewhere and developed symptoms in Australia and thus get reported as cases. This disease is certainly one to be aware of. It may one day get to Australia, as the mosquito which carries Chikungunya is the same one that transmits dengue fever, and Dengue has been reported in North QLD.

Chikungunya – What is it?


Chikungunya is another disease caused by a bite from one of the world’s most deadly animals- the mosquito! Chikungunya is a word from the language of the Makonde people who live on the border of Tanzania and Mozambique. It means ‘that which bends’ which might describe the appearance of those suffering from the severe joint pains and swelling while they stumble painfully along.
Those travelling to Asian or some African countries are at risk. The mosquito which carries Chikungunya is the same one that transmits dengue fever. It bites during the day and night, both inside and outside, often around buildings in urban areas. The virus which the mosquito carries from person to person is closely related to Ross River and Barma Forest viruses.

Often 3-7 days after a bite from an infected mosquito the transmitted virus causes: sudden high fever, severe joint aches (especially hands, wrists, ankles and feet), headache, muscle aches, back pain and often a rash. The symptoms typically resolve after 7-10 days. Joint pains and stiffness can linger for weeks or even years. There can occasionally be more severe problems. Most people recover quickly without any ongoing problems.

Travellers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites:

  • · Long sleeved shirts, long trousers, hat
  • · Insect repellent
  • · Consider permethrin treated clothing and gear (boots, trousers, socks, tents)
  • · Sleep under a mosquito net or in a mosquito proof room

There is no specific treatment for Chikungunya.
More serious conditions should be excluded (such as dengue and malaria).
Treatment includes rest, fluids and simple pain relief (eg anti-inflammatory).

USA – Salmonella

A total of 316 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 37 states in the USA.
According to the US Centre for disease control: Contact with live poultry and their environment can be a source of human Salmonella infections. Live poultry can be carrying Salmonella bacteria but appear healthy and clean and show no signs of illness. When in contact with live poultry, you should always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, not let live poultry inside the house, not let children younger than 5 years of age, older adults, or people with weak immune systems handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry. Also, do not snuggle or kiss the birds, touch your mouth, or eat or drink around live poultry and clean any equipment or materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry outside the house, such as cages or feed or water containers.

MERS-CoV – update Saudia Arabia

Worldwide, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 136 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 58 deaths. (WHO). Cases so far are known to have been acquired from unknown natural exposure in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and United Arab Emirates.
Right now, more than 850,000 of an expected 3 million pilgrims have arrived in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj, which takes place October 13-18, 2013. Pilgrims may return home immediately after Hajj but must depart Saudi Arabia by approximately November 13, 2013. WHO considers risk of MERS-CoV to individual pilgrims for the upcoming Hajj to be very low; however, MERS-CoV infection should be considered in any traveller developing fever or respiratory illness within 14 days of returning from Saudi Arabia.

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