Measles and Rabies in the UK more news from The Travel Clinic, Ipswich and Cambridge
10 students at the University of Gloucestershire have been diagnosed with measles. The University has four campuses in Cheltenham and Gloucester which house a total of 9500 students. Health authorities are expecting the number of cases to rise as the students travel home for Christmas. People between the ages of 18-24 years require one boost of Measles Mumps and Rubella vaccine if not previously boosted, anyone older than that requires 2 doses of MMR vaccine, unless they have had the diseases, in which case it is thought one has life long protection.
Infection with the rabies virus has been confirmed in a woman who is critically ill in Northern Ireland. The woman has travelled to a rabies endemic area in the past, however information on the exact location is not available, nor details of possible exposure to a rabid animal. Travellers are reminded of the need to get very good prompt medical care. If not available within 24 hours, fly to the nearest place where you can get good quality immunoglobulin and boosters of rabies vaccine, after scrubbing the wound and encouraging blood flow and flushing it with alcohol.
If you have had the 3 recommended rabies vaccine over 21 days, just boost with the normal vaccine on returning to good quality medical care.
Outbreaks of cholera are occurring from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi and Kenya.
As of 15 Dec 2008, a total of 18,413 suspected cases have been reported to WHO. The United Nation reports that 978 individuals have died from cholera in this outbreak and estimates that up to 60 000 people may eventually be affected
A well-organised response to cholera, says the World Health Organization, can reduce death rates to 1%. An unprepared community, however, will experience many times this death rate, it says.
Normally, rehydration salts are the only treatment given, although severely dehydrated patients may need intravenous fluids. Antibiotics can reduce the amount of diarrhoea. There is an oral cholera vaccine - but it is mainly aimed at travellers rather than wider use in a community stricken by the illness.
Control of an epidemic is difficult in a community unless clean water supplies can be restored. Systems for hygienic disposal of human wastes also need to be brought in.