Health authorities issue advice as ‘infectious diseases continue to spread globally’
Malta has low prevalence for many infectious diseases however due to travel for work, business or leisure, Maltese citizens can become exposed to prevalent infectious diseases, the Superintendence of Public Health said. The public is advised to take the necessary precautions for the various types of infectious diseases which can be present.
Infectious diseases continue to spread globally, the statement said. Some infectious diseases are more prevalent in specific areas and the health authorities across the globe have systems in place for the prevention and control of such diseases. The risk of becoming ill or injured during international travel depends on many factors, such as the region of the world visited, a traveller’s age and health status, the length of the trip, and the diversity of planned activities.
Currently, there are various infectious disease threats. Vaccine preventable diseases are highly prevalent in various countries. The World Health Organisation announced that the number of measles cases in Europe has increased during the first six months of 2018, with more than 41,000 cases reported.
MERS-CoV remains a possibility for people who travel to the Middle East and more specifically to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Another ongoing outbreak occurring in Algeria is that of cholera whereby 161 cases were affected. The 10th outbreak of ebola and the yellow fever outbreak are still spreading in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Such diseases can be prevented by ensuring that people are fully protected against vaccine preventable diseases through vaccination, ensuring sound hygiene practices, practicing safe food practices by drinking bottled water, eating properly cooked food and avoiding consumption of raw seafood, avoiding insect bites and practicing safe sex.
Prompt referral to a doctor if symptoms arise during or after travelling abroad is essential.
For more information on travel advice contact the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Unit on helpline 21324086 or the National Immunisation Service Centre on 25680299.