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Scientific Data Documentation
Disease Outbreak Bulletins


 A current list of outbreaks significant to travelers follows.  This
 information was recorded in August 1991 by the CDC and will be
 updated whenever the list is revised.

 Travelers to South America should be aware that an epidemic of
 cholera is occurring in several countries including Peru, Ecuador
 and Columbia.  Cholera has been reported in most coastal cities
 and inland areas of all three countries.  Cholera has also been
 reported in Cuzco in Peru and in the Galapagos Islands of
 Ecuador.  In addition, a small number of cases have been reported
 from Santiago, Chile, and from an area of the Brazilian jungle
 bordering Peru, in rural areas of Central Mexico and on the
 Pacific Coast of Guatemala.

 Cholera cases were first recognized in Peru in the last week of
 January 1991 and by August had affected over 280,000 in the
 affected countries.  Cholera has been reported in a small number
 of U.S. residents traveling to Peru and Ecuador.

 Epidemiologic investigations in Peru have indicated that the
 principal means of transmission are through municipal water
 supplies, ice made from that water, foods and beverages bought
 from street vendors, and vegetables irrigated with fresh sewage.
 Previous experience in other cholera epidemics and recent
 epidemiologic investigations in Ecuador during this epidemic also
 suggest that raw and undercooked seafood are important in the
 transmission.  Some cases of cholera have occurred in the United
 States after people brought back crabs in their luggage from
 South America.  Travelers should not bring back perishable crabs
 or seafood when they return to the United States.

 Cholera causes watery diarrhea and vomiting and in severe cases
 can lead to dehydration and death if not properly treated.
 Cholera is transmitted through contaminated food and water.  It
 is particularly important to avoid raw or undercooked seafood,
 potentially contaminated water and ice made from that water.
 Travelers should not assume municipal water in affected areas is
 safe to drink, even if the local information is reassuring.  Food
 and beverages sold by street vendors should be avoided.  The
 usual precautions to avoid travelers' diarrhea should be observed
 carefully.  The basic rule is "boil it, cook it, peel it or
 forget it."  Since cholera is associated with areas of poor
 sanitation, the risk of cholera in travelers who follow the
 normal tourist itineraries has been exceedingly low in other
 cholera epidemics.

 The vaccine confers only brief and incomplete protection and is
 not recommended.  In the unlikely event a traveler develops
 severe watery diarrhea, or watery diarrhea and vomiting, medical
 attention should be sought immediately.  Treatment with oral
 rehydration, or, in severe cases, intravenous rehydration is
 highly effective.

 There are no cholera vaccine requirements for entry into or exit
 from South American Countries or the United States.

 Several people have returned from trips to Mexico in 1989 with severe
 diarrheal illness caused by bacterium Shigella dysenteriae type 1. The CDC
 has received fewer reports of illness in 1989 than occurred in 1988.

 The risk is small for any one individual, but because the illness can be
 severe, travelers to this area should take extra precautions with regard to
 food and beverages.  Travelers should avoid uncooked vegetables and fruits
 which cannot be peeled.  No food should be eaten raw. Although the water in
 Cancun is purified, it may be prudent to drink bottle water, carbonated water,
 or water that has been boiled or treated with iodine. Other beverages should
 be drunk without ice. Preventive antibiotics are not advised.

 Epidemic meningococcal disease has been reported in Nairobi, Kenya and the
 Arusha area on northern Tanzania. Control measures have been instituted and
 the number of reported cases appear to be decreasing. There have been no
 reports of meningococcal disease in travelers.

 Because of the potential risk for exposure in Kenya and northern Tanzania,
 CDC recommends that U.S. travelers to Kenya and northern Tanzania receive the
 meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine. Quadrivalent polysaccharide vaccine
 containing serogroup A,C,Y, and W135 is available from local distributors or
 by calling Connaught Laboratories at 1-800-VACCINE.

 A suspected yellow fever outbreak has been reported from Bendel State in
 southern Nigeria.  The illness is characterized by fever, muscle aches,
 bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, jaundice, and clinically is
 consistent with yellow fever.  However, laboratory confirmation of the
 diagnosis still is lacking.

 The outbreak began in April and apparently peaked in July.  Sporadic cases
 still are occurring in Bendel State and also from JOS.

 Since 1986, several major yellow fever outbreaks have occurred in Nigeria,
 leading to tens of thousands of cases.

 Yellow fever can be prevented by immunization.  Yellow fever vaccine is
 recommended for travellers to Nigeria and other areas of West and Central

This page last reviewed: Thursday, January 28, 2016
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