Monthly Archives: January 2011

14 Bali Tourists now have Legionnaires Disease

ur opinion! Denpasar. A total of 14 foreign tourists are now confirmed to have contracted Legionnaires’ disease in Bali since reports of an outbreak emerged earlier this month, health officials said on Saturday.

The previous tally of 11 recorded cases was announced on Jan. 21 and involved nine Australians, one Dutch national and a French national, all of whom have since returned to their respective countries.

The three new cases all involve Australians, Nyoman Sutedja, head of the Bali Health Office, said at a discussion with tourism industry stakeholders on combating the outbreak.

He said a joint investigation by the Health Ministry and the World Health Organization following the initial reports in the middle of this month had pinpointed the source of the infection to a hotel in the vicinity of Matahari Square in the tourist hub of Kuta.

Sutedja said the hotel owner had cooperated with the authorities in checking for the Legionella bacteria that causes the diseases, including allowing them to check the hotel’s air-conditioning cooling tower, shower heads, faucets, plumbing and swimming pool.

He also said there were fears that the water vapor-borne bacteria could have spread around the island to popular tourist sites such as Tanah Lot, Ubud, Singaraja and Karangasem.

“We’ve asked health officials in all districts to carry out thorough investigations into cases of respiratory illnesses and report to us routinely,” he said.

Anak Agung Ngurah Jaya Kusuma, director of medicine and nursing at Denpasar’s Sanglah General Hospital, said at the same discussion that cases of Legionnaires’ disease might date back to July 2010, when an Australian tourist died of Legionnaires’-like symptoms at Sanglah.

He added that the following September, Australian authorities confirmed that three of their citizens had tested positive for the disease after returning from trips to Bali.

Jaya Kusuma said Sanglah, the island’s biggest hospital, did not have the equipment needed to detect Legionnaires’ infections.

“Just to order the diagnostic equipment is as complicated as trying to order a Ferrari – you have to get on an import waiting list,” he said.

Sutedja called on hotel owners to take extra measures to prevent the spread of the bacteria, including drying out AC cooling towers not in use, cleaning pools and other sources of standing water, and ensuring that all towels and linen are kept dry.

Participants at Saturday’s discussion agreed to include Legionella bacteria in the health office’s watch list for routine inspections, which also looks for salmonella and E. coli.

The health office currently charges each hotel Rp 200,000 ($22) to test for the two latter bacteria.

“With the new check for Legionella, we might need to charge an extra Rp 1 million to Rp 1.2 million,” Sutedja said.

Perry Markus, head of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Restaurant and Hotel Association (PHRI), said the extra cost would not be a problem for hotel owners.

“We want to show that we’re serious about preventing Legionnaires’ from spreading like bird flu, swine flu or SARS,” he said.

He added that while the effect of the outbreak on tourism was still negligible, foreign tour operators were expressing concern.

Ida Bagus Subhiksu, head of the Bali Tourism Office, said it was important to stop the outbreak from crippling the island’s all-important tourism industry.

“Bali has a very high profile, so when visitors come here, we don’t want them going home sick,” he said.

Mexican Island Cozumel has reported an outbreak of Legionnaires Disease

If you’re heading to Cozumel anytime soon you may want to think twice about your choice of destination. The laid-back, Mexican island in the Caribbean and just a ferry ride from Playa del Carmen has reported an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at two popular hotel properties. Travelers were alerted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which is based in Atlanta. The CDC says that the outbreak is confined to just two resorts, the Regency Club Vacation Resort which is a timeshare property, and the Wyndham Cozumel Resort and Spa (formerly the Reef Club Cozumel).

Cancellation fees for current and future guests have been suspended at the Wyndham. Since May of 2008, there have been nine cases of Legionnaires’

disease confirmed among U.S. and Dutch visitors to the resorts. The most recent case was in October of last year, so the outbreak has continued on and off for more than two years.

A statement from Wyndham’s management said the water systems at the resort had been disinfected and have also been “monitored and approved by state and federal government health authorities in Mexico.”

Cozumel has long been a favorite of Minnesota tourists and is less than four hours away, non-stop, from the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport via both Delta and Sun Country airlines. It is a more traditional Mexican destination and far different from its lively, non-stop action neighbors to the west, Cancun and Riviera Maya. Cozumel has long been a favorite dive destination for visitors from around the globe.

A form of pneumonia, Legionnaires’ disease is transmitted by the inhalation of bacteria-contaminated water. Hot tubs, cooling towers, spray misters, showerheads and faucets are a common source of the bacteria. It is not transmitted between people. The disease was named during an outbreak at a American Legion convention in Philadelphia in 1976.

  a.. Cozumel

  b.. Mexico

  c.. Legionnaires disease

  d.. Centers for Disease Control

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.

Legionnaires Disease in Bali

Holidaymakers who have visited Bali recently have been urged to see their doctor if they develop flu-like symptoms following an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease on the Indonesian island.

Four Victorians have contracted the disease while holidaying in Bali in the past six months, including two men who visited in late December.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Dr John Carnie said a further six people had fallen ill with the disease in Western Australia after recent trips to Bali, prompting a warning to all those who fell ill after visiting the island.

“The Indonesian Government has been advised of the Australian cases and is investigating to determine the source of the infections,” Dr Carnie said.

Dr Carnie said the four Victorian men, aged from 45 to 82, had been treated for the illness after returning to Victoria and had recovered.

The first two Victorian cases were in August and October, while the latest two had visited Bali in late December.

Legionnaires’ disease causes flu-like symptoms such as headaches, fevers, chills and muscle aches, followed by respiratory problems and pneumonia developed over three or four days.

The symptoms can take up to 10 days to develop after the initial contact with the bacteria.

Groups at high risk of contracting the disease are people aged over 50, heavy smokers, heavy drinkers, diabetics, and people with chronic lung disease.

Dr Carnie said the legionella bacteria occurred naturally in the environment, predominantly in water and soil.

It is normally in very low concentrations but can increase, particularly in man-made aquatic environments with warm recirculating water, such as air conditioning cooling towers.