Travel Vaccine Breaking News

Travel vaccine breaking news brought to you by Vax Before Travel.

May 23, 2022 • 2:46 am CDT
from Pixabay

Dr. Susan Hopkins, a chief medical adviser of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), confirmed on May 22, 2022, that there is "absolutely" community transmission of monkeypox in the UK's urban areas.

Dr. Hopkins said to the BBC: "Absolutely, we are finding cases with no identified contact with an individual from West Africa, which we've seen previously in this country.

Furthermore, the UK became the second country, following Belgium, to announce a three-week quarantine for people infected with monkeypox and their close contacts.

"The virus enters the body through broken skin (even if not visible), the respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth)."

The UKHSA advises these individuals to forgo travel and avoid contact with immunosuppressed people, pregnant women, and children under 12.

As of May 23, 2022, the UKHSA had announced (20) monkeypox cases during the current outbreak.

According to media reporting, seventeen countries have already reported potential monkeypox outbreaks, infecting over 200 people.

Note: This breaking news will be updated.

May 22, 2022 • 11:51 am CDT
by Jess Foami

Dog-mediated rabies kills tens of thousands of people each year in India, representing one-third of the estimated global rabies burden. And new research published by the journal Nature Communications shows how to accomplish this goal.

On May 19, 2022, these researchers describe the development of a data-driven rabies elimination program from 2013 to 2019 in Goa State, India.

These efforts culminated in human rabies elimination and a 92% reduction in monthly canine rabies cases.

An estimated 2,249 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) were averted over the program at USD 526 per DALY.

According to the WHO criteria of cost-effectiveness, these interventions can be considered "very cost-effective." 

This One Health program demonstrates that human rabies elimination is achievable at the state level by leveraging smartphone technology to enable the systematic spatial direction of remote teams.

Such technology-aided vaccination strategies have the potential to minimize unvaccinated pockets in the population and therefore hasten viral elimination.

Similar strategies to spatially dissect national public health programs for delivery at the community level, described as "microplans," have been reported as significant to the successful delivery of polio interventions.

The U.S. FDA has licensed two interchangeable, safe rabies vaccines.

The HDCV vaccine (Imovax) is produced in human diploid cell culture. And the PCECV vaccine (RabAvert) is produced in chick embryo cell culture.

Additional rabies vaccine news is posted at Vax-Before-Travel.com/Rabies.

Note: This study's findings were edited for clarity and curated for mobile readers.

May 22, 2022 • 9:59 am CDT
by Walkerssk

According to various media sources, Belgium became the first EU country to introduce a quarantine for confirmed monkeypox patients. The DailyMail reported today anyone testing positive for the viral disease must isolate for 21 days.

As of May 22, 2022, Belgium has publicly confirmed three monkeypox cases.

Belgium's monkeypox cases have been linked to a large-scale festival held in Antwerp in early May 2022.

'There's reason to assume that the virus has been brought in by visitors from abroad to the festival after recent cases in other countries,' says the festival's website.

Globally,  the total number of potential monkeypox cases has reached about (200) in fifteen countries.

Monkeypox vaccine-breaking news is posted on this weblink.

Note: This information was manually curated for mobile readers.

May 20, 2022 • 10:54 am CDT
FDA

New York-based SIGA Technologies, Inc. announced yesterday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the intravenous (IV) formulation of TPOXX® (tecovirimat) to treat smallpox.

The IV formulation is an essential option for people unable to swallow oral capsules.

The oral formulation of the novel small-molecule antiviral TPOXX (tecovirimat) was previously approved in the US, Canada, and Europe to treat smallpox.

Furthermore, the European Medicine Agency's approval also includes the treatment of monkeypox, cowpox, and complications from immunization with vaccinia.

"We are grateful to the FDA for their work leading to approval of IV TPOXX, which will provide access to a broader patient population," said Dr. Dennis Hruby, CSO of SIGA, in a press release issued on May 19, 2022.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awarded a contract to SIGA to procure up to approximately $7.5 million of oral TPOXX.

As of May 12, 2022, approximately $3.6 million of oral TPOXX is scheduled for delivery in 2022.

And the DoD drafted an Expanded Access Protocol for TPOXX, which can be used for Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) purposes with certain DoD-affiliated personnel until the FDA approves TPOXX for PEP.

The U.S. government maintains a supply of TPOXX (ST-246®) under Project BioShield.

Breaking news regarding the ongoing monkeypox outbreak is posted at Vax-Before-Travel.com/Monkeypox.

Note: This information was manually curated for mobile readership.

May 18, 2022 • 4:01 pm CDT
by Mabel Amber

The monkeypox outbreaks in Spain, Portugal, and the United Kingdom continue to expand. The U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announced today it had detected two additional cases of monkeypox.

This news indicated the U.K. had confirmed nine monkeypox cases in May 2022.

Separately, local media reported that on May 18, 2022, Portugal's Health Ministry confirmed five monkeypox cases, and it is studying more than 20 suspicious cases in the Lisbon region. 

And in Spain, Madrid health authorities issued a media alert after (23) men showed monkeypox symptoms and are working to determine a final diagnosis.

Monkeypox is a viral infection that spreads through close contact.

The UKHSA advises individuals, particularly gay, bisexual, or MSM, to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions and contact a sexual health service if they have concerns.

Monkeypox has not previously been described as a sexually transmitted infection, though it can be passed on by direct contact during sex.

It can also be passed on through other close contacts with a person who has monkeypox or contact with clothing or linens used by a person who has monkeypox, says the UKHSA.

Dr. Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser, UKHSA, commented in a media statement issued on May 18, 2022, "These latest cases, together with reports of cases in countries across Europe, confirm our initial concerns that there could be spread of monkeypox within our communities."

"We are particularly urging men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay if they have concerns."

"We are contacting any identified close contacts of the cases to provide health information and advice."

And clinicians should be aware of individuals presenting with rashes without a precise alternative diagnosis and should contact specialist services for advice.

From a prevention perspective, there are two U.S. FDA-approved vaccines that are generally available to military personnel.

  • JYNNEOS (MVA-BN) Smallpox (Monkeypox) Vaccine - is the only FDA-approved non-replicating smallpox and monkeypox vaccine for non-military use.
  • ACAM2000 Smallpox Vaccine - is a live vaccinia virus, a replication-competent vaccine, to protect against smallpox disease. The ACAM2000 vaccine does not contain variola and cannot cause smallpox.

Additional monkeypox outbreak news is posted at Vax-Before-Travel.

Notes: As of May 18, 2022, the U.S. CDC has not confirmed any monkeypox cases.

And this information was manually curated for mobile readership.

Update: The Massachusetts Department of Public Health today confirmed a single case of monkeypox virus infection in an adult male with recent travel to Canada.

May 18, 2022 • 2:54 pm CDT
Statista

Patients have historically traveled worldwide seeking affordable and high-quality medical care. In 2021, the country of Dubai was a leading destination.

According to a report recently released by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Dubai welcomed about 630,000 international health tourists in 2021.

Moreover, international patients spent nearly AED730 million (US$198 million) despite the COVID-19 pandemic imposed travel restrictions.

Published on May 9, 2022, the report indicated a majority of Dubai's health tourists came from Asian countries (38%), whereas (24%) were from Europe.

The three medical specialties that attracted the most health tourists were dermatology (43%), dentistry (18%), and gynecology (16%).

The Dubai Health Strategy intends to overhaul the medical sector, ensuring that everyone has quick, affordable, and efficient access to healthcare services.

The leading medical services destinations based on the tourism index in 2020 are listed on this website.

The global medical tourism market was valued at US 4.0 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of about 32% from 2022 to 2030. 

May 18, 2022 • 7:25 am CDT
CDC

Health authorities in Mozambique announced today that an outbreak of wild poliovirus type 1 had been declared following one child in the north-eastern Tete province had contracted the poliovirus. Genomic sequencing analysis indicates that the newly confirmed case is linked to a strain circulating in Pakistan in 2019, similar to the case reported in Malawi earlier in 2022.

Mozambique recently carried out two mass vaccination campaigns in which 4.2 million children were vaccinated against polio.

Efforts are currently underway to help strengthen disease surveillance in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

These five countries plan to reach 23 million children with the polio vaccine in the coming weeks.

"The detection of another case of wild poliovirus in Africa is greatly concerning, even if it's unsurprising given the recent outbreak in Malawi. However, it shows how dangerous this virus is and how quickly it can spread," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa, in today's press release.

"We support southern African governments to step up the polio fight, including carrying out large-scale, effective vaccination campaigns to halt the virus and protect children from its damaging impact."

Globally, wild poliovirus is endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The following destinations in Africa are currently considered high risk for polio (see map).

The U.S. CDC issued an Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions, in March 2022, regarding the polio risk in these countries.

Note: This information was manually curated for mobile readers.

May 17, 2022 • 2:52 pm CDT
by katerinavulcova

Researchers recently conducted a randomized triple-blinded validation trial and a real-life study at the Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport, Finland, with four dogs trained to detect COVID-19.

Announced on May 17, 2022, these Original Research experiments had an overall accuracy of 92%, a sensitivity of 92%, and a specificity of 91% compared with RT-PCR tests. 

These results published by BMJ Global Health indicate that trained scent dogs can screen and identify infected airport passengers with high accuracy.

“I was particularly impressed by the fact that dogs performed worse with samples we had collected from patients suffering from a disease caused by a coronavirus variant," says Anu Kantele, Professor of Infectious Diseases and Chief Physician at the University of Helsinki and Hospital, in a press release issued on May 17, 2022.

"The explanation is simple: the dogs had originally been trained with the initial wild-type virus, and thus they did not always identify the variant samples as positive."

"This reveals their incredible ability of discrimination."

'There are many other diseases where research could benefit from these dogs' excellent sense of smell.'

This finding means scent sniffing dogs may present an innovative approach for high-throughput, rapid screening of large numbers of people.

Note: This study's findings were manually curated for mobile readers.

May 17, 2022 • 12:50 pm CDT
GPEI

A new round of polio vaccination for children was recently launched in the cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem. According to the WHO, the Palestinian Ministry of Health's vaccination campaign will be conducted through May 18, 2022.

Using the bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV), free vaccinations will be offered at maternal and child centers.

Poliovirus primarily affects children under age five and can lead to lifelong paralysis.

This action follows the detection of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 3 in sewage outflow in the local area.

“Palestine is in a strong position thanks to its routine immunization program and the value parents place on childhood immunizations. But the regional risk of polio increases," commented WHO territory Representative Dr. Rik Peeperkorn in a media statement.

Round two of the campaign will take place in June 2022 and will offer all children under age five a second two drops of the polio vaccine, further boosting their immunity.

However, children living outside of Jerusalem and Bethlehem do not currently require an additional dose of oral polio vaccine.

In April 2022, the Ministry of Health in Israel confirmed the ninth polio case diagnosed in the Jerusalem area. Israel launched a massive 'Two Drop' polio vaccinations campaign in response.

These vaccination campaigns are part of the global effort to eradicate poliovirus, spearheaded by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

The U.S. CDC's latest polio vaccine recommendations were published on February 17, 2022.

To alert international travelers of the polio outbreaks in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe, the U.S. CDC issued Level 2 Travel Advisories on March 25, 2022.

Note: This information was manually edited for clarity and curated for mobile readers.

May 17, 2022 • 6:58 am CDT
CDC

The Pakistan government announced today it decided to launch a nationwide poliovirus immunization campaign on May 23, 2022. This action is related to three recent polio cases.

According to the Ministry of Health spokesperson, previous drives were limited to some areas in Pakistan. But this campaign will include all areas of the country.

The wild poliovirus remains in the environment in certain districts, posing a threat to the resurgence in cases.

In a message, Minister for Health Qadir Patel said in a media article published on May 17, 2022, “Government of Pakistan remains committed to eradicating polio and focusing on well-coordinated efforts at both the federal and provincial level to realize the dream of making Pakistan a polio-free country."

“It’s every Pakistani’s national duty to ensure that their children and children around them are administered the polio vaccine."

The U.S. CDC recently issued an Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions to notify international travelers of their risks for Asia and eastern Europe, including Pakistan.

The CDC previously published travel alerts for Pakistan's COVID-19, extensively drug-resistant typhoid fever, and dengue outbreaks.

The CDC suggests scheduling a pre-departure travel vaccine review with a certified clinic or pharmacy one month before international travel.

Travel vaccine counseling reviews can be requested at this link.

Note: This information was manually curated for mobile readership.

May 16, 2022 • 11:41 am CDT
TSA

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European CDC recently discontinued the recommendation for the mandatory wearing of medical masks in airports and onboard flights.

The update of the joint Aviation Health Safety Protocol takes account of the latest developments in the pandemic, particularly the levels of vaccination and naturally acquired immunity.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” said EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky in a media statement issued on May 11, 2022.

“For passengers and aircrews, this is a big step forward in normalization of air travel."

"Passengers should, however, behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them."

"And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask to reassure those seated nearby.”

However, rules for masks, particularly, will continue to vary by airline and country after May 16, 2022.

For example, the Italian government confirmed its mask-wearing rules would remain active until June 15th, reported Corriere della Sera.

In the U.S., the CDC's Dr. Rochelle Walensky commented on May 3, 2022, 'the CDC continues to recommend that all people—passengers and workers, alike—properly wear a well-fitting mask or respirator in indoor public transportation conveyances and transportation hubs to protect themselves and other travelers in these high volume, mixed population settings."

Note: This information was curated for mobile readers.

May 16, 2022 • 5:40 am CDT
TSA

The (TSA) recently stated it is committed to ensuring that every traveler is treated respectfully and courteously at airport checkpoints while also ensuring passengers get to their destination safely.

On May 13, 2022, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently confirmed officers are trained to screen oversized liquids such as breast milk, formula – and other medically necessary liquids.

The TSA says 'Inform the TSA officer at the beginning of the screening process that you carry formula, breast milk, and juice over 3.4 ounces in your carry-on bag. These liquids are typically screened by X-ray.'

Furthermore, 'Inform the TSA officer if you do not want the formula, breast milk, and/or juice to be X-rayed or opened.'

'Additional steps will be taken to clear the liquid.'

'You or the traveling guardian will undergo additional screening procedures, including a pat-down and screening of other carry-on property.'

And ice packs, freezer packs, gel ice packs, and other accessories required to cool breast milk are allowed in a carry-on when presented for screening.

Medically necessary gel ice packs in reasonable quantities are allowed regardless of their physical state of matter (i.e., melted or slushy).

However, they are also subject to the same screening and inspection as other oversized liquids. If not deemed medically necessary, these liquids must be checked-in.

'Our employees go through regular training to effectively engage and screen diverse traveler populations, including those who are breastfeeding and/or traveling with breast milk,' stated the TSA media release.

'Additionally, we will re-double our training to ensure our screening procedures are being consistently applied.'

Note: The TSA announcement was curated for mobile readership.

May 14, 2022 • 1:19 pm CDT
by mohamed Hassan

For those who choose to travel this summer, the U.S.  Transportation Security Administration (TSA) suggests five simple tips to get through airport checkpoints quickly and efficiently.

Tip 1: Enroll in TSA PreCheck® to “Travel with Ease.” By enrolling in TSA PreCheck, airline passengers can avoid removing shoes, belts, liquids, food, laptops, and light jackets at the TSA checkpoint. As a result, in April 2022, about 94% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than 5 minutes at the checkpoint.

Tip 2: Pack smart; start with empty bags. Technology and modifications help those who take the time to come prepared for the TSA checkpoint are far more likely to avoid delay and physical contact. Check for prohibited items by using the “What Can I Bring?” page on TSA.gov.

Tip 3: Know before you go. Plan to arrive at the airport in plenty of time to check in, check bags, and complete security screening in time to avoid stressful sprints to the departure gate. At the TSA checkpoint, have a valid ID card readily available.

Tip 4: Contact TSA for help if there are questions or concerns. Those who are preparing to travel and may have special circumstances, considerations or general questions about airport screening can get live assistance by tweeting questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger. You can also call the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673.

Tip 5: Face masks are optional but recommended. The U.S. CDC offers recommendations for domestic travel during COVID-19 and for international travel on its website at CDC.gov.

The TSA also offers TSA Cares, a helpline for travelers with disabilities, medical conditions, and other exceptional circumstances.

Travelers can submit a request for assistance by calling TSA Cares at 855-787-2227. Passengers may also use the TSA Cares form available on the TSA website, which can be found at https://www.tsa.gov/travel/passenger-support.

Note: This TSA information was edited for clarity and manually curated for mobile readers.

May 10, 2022 • 12:42 pm CDT
CDC

The Republic of South Sudan Ministry of Health recently announced that the cholera outbreak had been declared in Rubkona county, Unity State. Issued on May 7, 2022, the declaration follows the confirmation of cholera in eight cases following tests by the National Public Health Laboratory in Juba.

To date, 31 cases, including one related fatality, have been reported from Rubkona town and Bentiu IDP camp.

The cholera risk is typically high during South Sudan's rainy season, which starts from May to October. The country has also experienced devastating floods in the last couple of years.

The Public is further urged to be vigilant and report all suspected cholera cases to the national outbreak hotline 6666 or the nearest health facility.

With support from its partners, the Government recently conducted two rounds of oral cholera vaccination in Rubkona county in January and March 2022.

The U.S. CDC says anyone planning to visit regions with active cholera transmission should discuss getting vaccinated at least one month before travel.

The Vaxchora oral vaccine is U.S. FDA authorized for adults traveling to cholera-affected areas.

Previously, the CDC recently issued Travel Notices for COVID-19 and polio outbreaks in South Sudan, which borders Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Travel vaccination counseling sessions can be requested at this weblink.

Note: The South Sudan news was manually curated for mobile readers.

May 10, 2022 • 11:21 am CDT
U.K.

The U.K.'s Foreign travel advice today announced it advises against all but essential travel to the province of Equateur in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to the ongoing outbreak of Ebola.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office issued advice on May 10, 2022, confirming the DRC declared a new Ebola outbreak in Mbandaka city, Equateur province in northwestern DRC in late April 2022.

Since then, three Zaire Ebola virus disease (EVD) fatalities have been confirmed.

This is the DRC's 14th Ebola outbreak.

 As of early May 2022, about 353 people were vaccinated with the Ervrebo vaccine, including 253 close contacts, all in Mbandaka.

The U.S. CDC has issued Travel Advisories for COVID-19, monkeypox, and polio outbreaks in the DRC, but not for Ebola, as of May 10, 2022.