4th Western Australian diagnosed with Legionnaires Disease from Bali travel

The Department of Health has been notified of a 4th Western
Australian diagnosed with legionnaires’ disease following travel to
Bali since December 2010. Acting chief health officer, Dr Andy
Robertson, said while the exact source of the disease remained
unknown, all the Western Australians recently diagnosed had stayed at
the Ramayana Resort and Spa Hotel in Central Kuta.

“The Indonesian Government has been advised of the Australian cases
by the Australian Government, and is working with the World Health
Organisation to investigate the possible source of the disease,” Dr
Robertson said.

Dr Robertson said the early symptoms of legionnaires’ disease are
typically similar to severe ‘flu-like’ illness. “Early symptoms may
include fever, chills, muscle soreness, headaches, tiredness, reduced
appetite, and diarrhoea, along with dry cough and breathlessness,” Dr
Robertson said. The Department of Health is advising Western
Australians who have recently returned from Bali, and have developed
flu-like symptoms within 10 days, to contact their GP.

“Legionnaires’ disease is treated with specific antibiotics, and
while most people recover, some people may develop severe pneumonia
requiring hospitalisation.” Legionnaires’ disease most often affects
middle-aged and elderly people, particularly those who smoke or who
have lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or a weakened immune
system. _Legionella pneumophila_ is a type of bacteria commonly
transmitted by the inhalation of water droplets from contaminated
warm water environments such as: air conditioning cooling towers in
large buildings and evaporative air conditioners; showers and warm
water systems; spa pools; misting or droplet sprays, and fountains.
Legionnaires’ disease cannot be caught from other people or from
animal contact.

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    Denpasar. After an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease prompted Australia to issue a travel advisory for Bali, the province’s governor has urged hotel operators to take better care of their facilities.

    “I have instructed the hotels here to regularly clean their swimming pools and air-conditioners,” Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika said.

    The hotels in which 11 tourists are thought to have contracted the disease have been issued a warning, he added.

    “No need to name the hotels. But they have been summoned and sternly warned,” he said.

    No new cases of the disease have been reported.

    Nyoman Sutedja, head of the Bali Health Office, said last week that there had been 11 recorded cases of foreign visitors to Bali coming down with Legionnaire’s disease. The cases involve nine Australians, one Dutch national and a French national, all of whom have returned to their respective countries.

    According to Pastika, those who were infected had visited the island for 7 to 10 days and were all more than 45 years of age.

    The disease usually affects middle-aged and elderly people, particularly those who smoke or suffer from a lung disease, diabetes, a kidney disease or a weak immune system.

    Nyoman said the recent cases should serve as a reminder never to underestimate the importance of proper sanitation.

    “Tourism is not just about people enjoying the scenery and culture, but it is also very much about ensuring that our environment is clean and healthy,” he said.

    Pastika has met with representatives from the Australian Consulate in Bali to discuss the travel advisory that was issued last week.

    “I explained to them what has been done from our part. They said they were considering revoking the travel advisory in relation to the cases of Legionnaire’s disease here,” the governor told reporters.

    He also said he had ordered provincial health officials to organize health and sanitation checks of hotels to prevent similar outbreaks in the future.

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