The World Health Organisation recognizes World Mental Health Day on October 10th to remind us the importance of awareness in a growing topic for the business world globally. In an era where most working people have less time and more stress, mental health is a big topic and the maritime could not stay unaffected.
The World Health Organization and a broad range of partners are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo working with the local Government to contain an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Bikoro health zone, Equateur Province. The outbreak was declared during May. As of 11 May, 34 Ebola cases were reported in the area.
Foodborne disease outbreaks on ships, caused by consumption of contaminated food and drink, are of concern because of their potentially serious health consequences for the crew, resulting also in high costs for the companies and the industry.
There is a series of mosquito borne and transferred diseases on board vessels. Examples of such diseases are malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, Zika Virus, viral encephalitis. If not properly controlled, such vectors could breed on ship and could certainly be carried by ship. Infection with above diseases during voyage represents a serious risk to seafarers’ health and life.
In a response to ongoing outbreaks of yellow fever in Nigeria and Brazil, China has strengthened its quarantine inspection requirements to prevent the virus being carried to China by seagoing vessels. Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne disease with the potential to cause severe health implications.
IMO has issued a circular informing that a plague outbreak in Madagascar has spread to the capital and port towns, according to World Health Organisation. So far, there is no justification at this stage for restrictions on travel or trade, however, operators are advised to review specific guide issued by WHO which draws attention on lessons learned from recent disease outbreaks to provide substantive public health guidance.
The UK P&I Club comments on the fact many crewmembers fail pre-sea medical examinations, due to a combination of serious illnesses linked to obesity, informing that a body mass index of 25 or above can signify a serious weight problem. Being overweight may interfere with the seafarer’s role and performance on-board.
The World Health Organisation has confirmed an outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where eleven suspected cases including three deaths have been reported, since 22 April. WHO does not recommend any restriction of travel and trade to DRC, based on the currently available information.
The UK P&I Club’s Crew Health team recently analysed data from 900+ crew medical examinations, where multiple illnesses were highlighted. Over 200 crewmembers failed their pre-sea medical examination, due to a combination of serious illnesses in addition to obesity.
Gard P&I Club issued an article, providing some precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk to seafarers from mosquitos, when visiting affected areas. Gard notes that they must not lower their guard, when there is a risk of exposure to a mosquito-borne disease, despite the WHO’s declaration that Zika no longer constitutes an international emergency.
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