Travel Blog

Rabies in Malaysia

Five human rabies cases and almost 800 cases of people being bitten by rabid animals have been reported in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. All five people infected with rabies have died.

Rabies is a deadly disease found in the saliva of infected animals. All mammals can get rabies. People usually get rabies from licks, bites, or scratches from infected dogs or other animals.

Rabies affects the nervous system causing brain disease and death. Once symptoms of rabies appear, the disease is nearly always fatal, so prevention is especially important.

Avoid touching all animals, including wild animals and pets. Pets in other countries, such as Malaysia, may not be vaccinated against rabies.

See your local travel clinic to get vaccinated for Rabies before traveling to an area of risk.

Zika virus

Caes of Zika virus have now been reported in many countries in the Caribbean , South and Central America and the Pacific islands.

Travellers to countries in these areas should protect themselves by using mosquito nets and applying insect repellant with D.E.E.T ( at least 22% strength) to exposed areas of skin to prevent mosquito bites.

There is no vaccine or treatment for the Zika virus infection.

Women should avoid becoming pregnant for 2 months after they visit and area with Zika virus.

Men should avoid fathering a child for 6 months after they visit an area with Zika virus.

Chikungunya Fever

There has been an increased number of cases of Chikungunya fever in Brazil and Italy.

Chikungunya fever is spread to people by mosquitoes. The most common symptoms of Chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, and rash. Outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and on islands in the Caribbean. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Chikungunya virus infection. Travelers can protect themselves by using mosquito nets and applying insect repellant with D.E.E.T ( at least 22% strength) to exposed areas of skin to prevent mosquito bites.

Vaccine Shortages

Please note that there are currently severe shortages of injectable Typhoid vaccine and Yellow fever vaccine in the province in Ontario.

To ensure your best chances of receiving either of these vaccines if you need them , it is best to visit a travel clinic as early as possible. If the vaccine is not available at the time , your name can be put on a waiting list to receive the vaccine in priority.

Also note that Yellow Fever vaccine is a mandatory requirement for entry to certain countries

Plague in Madagascar

There is currently an outbreak of bubonic plague in widespread areas of Madagascar.

The Plague is a bacterial infection spread through bites by infected fleas. Plague causes high fever, swollen lymph glands and the infection can spread to the lungs

Plague pneumonia ( infection in the lungs) is the only way it that can be directly transmitted from one person to another. Plague can be treated with antibiotics. However, without prompt treatment, plague can cause serious illness or death.

No vaccine is available to prevent plague. But travelers can take steps to prevent plague, and complications of plague can be prevented with antibiotics.

Travelers to Madagascar should use insect repellent that lists protection against fleas on the label and contains at least 25% D.E.E.T. Avoid close contact with sick or dead animals. Avoid close contact with people who are coughing up blood.

Travelers who have had close contact with people with plague pneumonia should immediately contact a doctor. During or after travel to Madagascar, travelers should watch for symptoms of plague. If symptoms do appear, they should seek medical care and inform the provider about their travel to Madagascar. Antibiotics are available to treat the plague.

Polio outbreaks

There have increased number of cases of Polio ( Poliomyelitis reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria and Nigeria.

Travellers to these areas are urged to receive a booster dose of Polio vaccine ( on top of your child hood doses) prior to departure to these countries. It is also advised that you carry some documentation of proof of vaccination as this may be required prior to your exit from certain countries.