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Travel Medicine News

Dengue Fever Risk Now in Florida

Posted by Stuart Rose on

A person in Florida has caught a locally transmitted case of dengue fever. The case is the first in which a person caught dengue from a mosquito bite within Miami-Dade County in 2016. This is unusual, since most cases in US travelers are acquired in the Caribbean and elsewhere overseas.   The case is also Florida's second local dengue case of 2016, according to CBS Miami. In 2015, the state reported one locally transmitted case of dengue, and in 2014 it had six known locally acquired cases of the disease, according to the Florida Department of Health.    Dengue is...

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Ticks—More to Worry About

Posted by Stuart Rose on

We all know that ticks can spread Lyme disease and travelers to Europe and Russia may be familiar with tick-borne encephalitis. Another tick-borne illness has now appeared in Spain with the report of the first case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF). See NY Times September 5, 2016. What is CCHF? It is a serious viral illness normally found in Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans and Central Asia south of Kazakhstan. A West African strain of the fever was first isolated from ticks feeding on Spanish red deer in 2011. While the threat to travelers to Spain is low, the illness...

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Testing for dengue fever, chikungunya fever and Zika virus. What you should know.

Posted by Stuart Rose on

Three mosquito-transmitted viruses that travelers want to avoid are dengue, chikungunya and Zika (if pregnant). You may have concerns about whether your primary doctor is familiar with these diseases and what the proper testing procedures are if you have symptoms. There are no vaccines.  I have enclosed those procedures done by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. You can use their guidelines to be sure your healthcare provider is aware of the proper testing procedures. The MA State Public Health Laboratory uses a PCR test to detect the genetic material of Zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses and the Zika IgM MAC-ELISA to test...

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Caution travelers: Malaria strikes Venezuela.

Posted by Stuart Rose on

This weeks's New York Times has a harrowing look at how a breakdown in the economy and public infrastructure in Venezuela has lead to a dramatic return of Malaria: "The promise of a different Venezuela — one where there is ample food and work that pays enough — led Yudani González to abandon a program to become a preschool teacher in Ciudad Bolívar, the provincial capital, where unemployment is rampant. Instead, she headed to a ramshackle jungle camp, where she cooks for miners with one hand and cares for her two young children with the other. And Reinaldo Balochi lost his job last year...

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CDC reports Zika virus spreading in the Caribbean.

Posted by Stuart Rose on

Local mosquito transmission of Zika virus infection (Zika) has been reported in the Turks and Caicos Islands as well as in Antigua and Barbuda. Local mosquito transmission means that mosquitoes in the area are infected with Zika virus and are spreading it to people. Because Zika virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes, CDC recommends that travelers to the Turks and Caicos Islands protect themselves from mosquito bites.    Zika Virus in Pregnancy A pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. CDC recommends special precautions for the following groups: Women who are pregnant: Should not travel...

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Here's why the Zika virus will spread.

Posted by Stuart Rose on

Prior to 2015, Zika virus outbreaks occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infections in Brazil. Currently, outbreaks are occurring in many countries and territories. Zika virus will continue to spread and it will be difficult to determine how and where the virus will spread over time. The Zika virus is spread in the U.S. by two species of mosquitoes: Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Their range is shown on the map. Cases have just now been reported...

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What kills most travelers?

Posted by Stuart Rose on

Cardiovascular events (including heart attacks and strokes) and injuries accounted for 49% and 25% of the overseas deaths of US citizen travelers, respectively. Infectious diseases other than pneumonia accounted for only 1% of the deaths. Eighty percent of injury deaths occurred outside of hospitals. Injury death rates for male travelers were greater than US age-specific death rates. CONCLUSIONS:  Travel increases the chance of dying in an accident for males, especially under the age of 55. You can have your heart attack anywhere, but road safety overseas is often much less than in the US. I tell all my travel clinic clients:...

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Zika Virus risk and transmission of the virus

Posted by Stuart Rose on

Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy has been linked to birth defects, yet the magnitude of risk remains uncertain. Investigators studying the 2013–2014 Zika outbreak in French Polynesia estimated that the risk of microcephaly due to ZIKV infection in the first trimester of pregnancy was 0.95% on the basis of eight microcephaly cases identified retrospectively in a population of approximately 270,000 people. The New England Journal of Medicine found a strong association between the risk of microcephaly and infection risk in the first trimester and a lesser association in the second and third trimesters, There is no ZIKV vaccine. The virus is transmitted...

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Ticks 'Tis the season to be aware!

Posted by Stuart Rose on

The Zika virus has been dominating the health news headlines recently, distracting us from remembering that we are now in the Lyme disease season. The Zika virus can be devastating to a fetus, but otherwise it generally causes mild symptoms and (except for rare cases of Guillian-Barre syndrome) resolves without treatment. Lyme disease is much more serious and is growing more rampant in its normal hotspots across the US; It is also endemic throughout Europe and much of Russia. If you engage in hiking, camping, or similar outdoor activities in wooded regions of endemic areas, or do a lot of gardening, you must take measures...

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Essential Travel Safety Tips—Know before you go!

Posted by Stuart Rose on

  There are two pieces of advice I give to all travelers in my Clinic: 1) Don't get bitten by mosquitoes, ticks, or flies. Get insect repellent! 2) Wear your seat belt—if there is one!  Car accidents are the number one killer of healthy Americans abroad.  You can have a heart attack anywhere, but driving—or crossing the street—in many countries can be lethal Things to know before you go  • Dogs are the most common source of rabies in the developing world although bites or scratches from any mammal can transmit the virus. Travelers should avoid contact with animals! They must...

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