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Notice: Public health warns of high risk areas for summer travel

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  • By Public Health
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Are you traveling this summer? Make an appointment with Public Health for traveler's health updates, tips and information to keep you and your family safe from illness and disability.
Important travel alerts at this time are:

1. Saudi Arabia and Arabian Peninsula Region:

Protect against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS-CoV, and vaccine preventable diseases
Umrah is a pilgrimage similar to Hajj that can occur at any time of the year, but is likely to be more crowded during the month of Ramadan (approximately June 28 to July 28, 2014). Because of the crowds, mass gatherings such as Hajj and Umrah are associated with unique health risks. The MERS outbreak is ongoing in the Arabian Peninsula.

The World Health Organization recommends:
· High-risk travelers, or people who have weakened immune systems or who have diabetes, chronic lung disease, or kidney failure, should review their risk with their primary care manager and consider whether the pilgrimage is advisable.
· People who develop respiratory illness while they are at Hajj or Umrah should isolate themselves, or if isolation is not possible, wear a surgical mask around people.
· Travelers should avoid contact with camels, avoid visiting farms, and avoid raw camel milk or undercooked meat.

In addition, for the 2014 Pilgrimage, the Saudi Ministry of Health recommends the following groups postpone travel:
· People older than 65 years
· Children younger than 12 years
· Pregnant women
· People with chronic diseases (such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or respiratory disease)
· People with weakened immune systems or who take drugs that suppress the immune system
· People with cancer or terminal illness
Stay up to date with all vaccines and make an appointment with your Primary Care Manager and Public Health before traveling.

2. Caribbean and Central America: Protect against chikungunya
On June 16, 2014, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Va., reported the first imported chikungunya case in an active duty service member associated with the Caribbean outbreak. The patient had recent personal travel to the region. Chikungunya is transmitted by mosquitos. Protect yourself and those traveling with you by using insect repellant and covering with clothing. Avoid outdoor activities at dawn and dusk.
For more information, call to make an appointment with Public Health at (940) 676-3052.