Ebola and Flu: What’s in the travel health news?

While the focus is now on West Virginia’s outbreak, Ebola has been the primary focus for travel advisories for months now, with states increasing their Ebola warning signs in a number of U.S. cities. Note, however, the storm just mentioned is in a different category. Influenza A (H1N1) has struck the Middle East and Northern Africa, and for some reason nearly four million people have either traveled to or within the affected area this year, and experts are concerned the virus could travel far and wide as the current run of avian flu continues.

First noticed in late 2014, a vaccine to H1N1 is now available in the U.S. from companies such as Sanofi Pasteur, CSL Limited, MedImmune, and Innovalight. If you’ve recently traveled to North America, a flu shot is critical, as the bug is now considered so mild, the vaccine is not a cure. Though it’s unlikely the epidemic will spread much in the US, it’s important to get vaccinated and stay away from influenza, even if you never traveled to a place like West Virginia, which saw 19 confirmed cases, according to WHO.

The good news is that while it’s easy to pick up an infection here and there, the virus is normally treated with antiviral medications. And who knows? A second vaccine might be just around the corner for a flu epidemic in the fall of 2019.

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