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eTravelBlackboard: World Health Travel Alerts - May 31, 2012
Turism&Travel SwiftpageEmail Cuba: in the footsteps of Hemingway By Ruth Anderson* Few destinations are as evocative as Cuba, the Caribbean island trapped in a time warp.

For me, Havana was pure excitement, with all the sights and sounds of a bygone age – banged-out American cars, graffiti lauding Castro, and wonderful architecture that sometimes doesn’t extend beyond the front of the building. I loved simply wandering the streets Hemingway walked listening to the sounds made famous by the Buena Vista Social Club that echo from restaurants and bars, where tourists work their way through cocktail list of Mojitos, Daiquiris, and Cuba Libres. And, the local food is fabulous: a mix of Spanish and Caribbean, with plenty of seafood to accompany the staples of rice and beans. You can’t stroll half a block without being approached by a charming, chatty local looking to steer you towards a great meal and earn himself a finder’s fee from the restaurant owner. (Walk near a cop and your companion suddenly vanishes, only to reappear by your side further along the street. It’s all great theatre and never threatening.) As with the other developing countries in the Caribbean, food-, water-, and insect-borne infections are the main health concerns for travellers. There are no mandatory vaccinations for travel to Cuba, but some are recommended. Call Travelvax Australia’s free over-the-phone travel health advisory service (1300 360 164) for current advice and information, or to book a consultation with specialist travel health professionals – ideally 6 weeks before you leave home. VACCINATIONS: A few basic precautions… Hepatitis A: There are intermediate-high rates of Hepatitis A in Cuba and vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Hepatitis A is transmitted through food or water, or handling common object (money, door handles, railings etc). There is a very effective vaccine, but immunisation, but it is still important to practice good personal hygiene and make sensible food choices. Read more Typhoid: Vaccination is less likely to be a significant risk if you are staying for short periods in hotels. However, it should be considered if you are staying for longer than 4 weeks with friends or relatives, or visiting smaller cities, towns, or rural communities, where exposure is more likely to occur through contaminated food or water. Read more Flu: Because international travel inevitably involves planes, buses, and/or trains airborne diseases like seasonal flu and measles are potential risks that are difficult to avoid. (I quickly discovered that Cuba is as popular with Canadians as Bali is with Aussies. Because the Canadians take ‘winter sun’ holidays early in the New Year, you could expect to encounter cases of northern hemisphere flu.) Read more Measles: The virus is highly contagious (it can remain viable in the air for 2 hours after an infected person left the room) and hardly a week goes by without news of a new outbreak or epidemic somewhere around the world. Check with your doctor that you have either had the disease or received 2 doses of vaccine. Read more Routine: The combined tetanus/diphtheria/whooping cough vaccine is another to consider if it’s been more than 8 years since your last booster. Read more Rabies: is present in Cuba, but it is generally considered a low risk for short-stay travellers and vaccination is usually only advised for longer stays. (Aussie travellers are generally oblivious to the risk of rabies and have no fear about approaching dogs, cats, or monkeys when overseas. Watch the locals though – they have grown up with the threat of rabies and wisely give most unfamiliar animals a wide berth. It is important to avoid contact with all animals, and know what to do if bitten.) Read more Insects: As for insects, the good news malaria is not present in Cuba, but it is a low risk on some other islands in the Caribbean. The bad news is that dengue certainly is present on Cuba and right throughout the region. Read more Dengue-carrying Aedes mosquitoes are daytime feeders and can be found in any urban setting. As there is no vaccine, avoiding mozzie bites is essential. Cover up, wear light-coloured clothing, avoid using perfumes or aftershave and, most importantly of all, rub on insect repellent anytime you are outdoors. Your repellent needs to contain an effective active ingredient. Look for N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET), Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus on the label: All work for varying lengths of time when used as directed. For whom the TD bell tolls… Did you know up to 60% of all leisure and business travellers are laid low by Travellers’ diarrhoea, which means at least a day or more of inconvenience and discomfort. I always carry treatment medication, plus sachets of rehydration solution – just in case. Avoid the obvious traps: ice made with tap water, seafood stored in ice, salads washed in tap water, unpeeled fruits, and protein foods kept at room temperature. Remember the food golden rule – peel it, boil it, or forget it! Read more Check Smartraveller before you go. It has lots of good advice and you can register your details and itinerary in case problems arise. While the Cuban healthcare system is comprehensive and well-run, medical attention is almost always expensive overseas. Quite simply, if you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford to travel. *Ruth Anderson is a specialist travel health nurse with a Certificate in Travel Health from the International Society of Travel Medicine.   AFRICA: Five more countries hit by meningococcal Read more ARGENTINA: Capital on alert for more measles Read more AUSTRALIA: Measles outbreak in western Sydney Read more BOTSWANA: Malaria rates fall Read more CAMBODIA: Girl, 10, latest bird flu victim Read more CANADA: Foxes spreading rabies Read more GERMANY: Hantavirus on the rise Read more GHANA: Two more anthrax deaths Read more INDIA: Malaria hits Mumbai; Dengue back in Chennai; Fatalities in Tirunelveli Read more INDONESIA: Monkey did not have rabies Read more LATIN AMERICA: Dengue rife in Brazil, Paraguay, Ecuador Read more MALAYSIA: Dengue rate up 21% Read more NIGERIA: Five new polio cases Read more PAKISTAN: Deadly measles outbreaks Read more PHILIPPINES: Dengue intensifies on Mindanao Read more SRI LANKA: Rains bring dengue spike Read more THAILAND: More dengue like in June – government Read more TAIWAN: New dengue case Read more UGANDA: Measles widespread Read more UNITED KINGDOM: Rabies death; Scattered measles outbreaks.. Read more VIETNAM: CDC issues HFMD warning Read more Travelvax Australia compiles this weekly bulletin of global travel health alerts, risk assessments and advice for the information of Austrlaian travellers and the travel industry. Please contact our travel health advisory service on 1300 360 164 for broad destination-specific advice and vaccination recommendations. Recommended vaccines, travel medicine, trip-specific advice and accessories are available during a medical consultation with a travel health professional at any of Travelvax Australian’s 32 clinics. Visit our website or call 1300 360 164 for details.   Source = Travelvax
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Joi, 31 Mai 2012 - 04:15 PM

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