A three to four-fold increase in the number of cases of Western Australian (WA) travelers stricken by Dengue Fever shortly after a Bali holiday has caused the Acting Director of Communicable Disease Control in WA, Dr. Gary Dowse, to issue warnings against mosquito bites when visiting the holiday island.
According to Dr. Dowse, 54 WA travelers contracted the malarial disease in 2007 with a further 16 cases reported in January 2008. 60% of the WA infections of Dengue Fever were linked to Indonesian travel with 76% of those cases linked to Bali visits.
Other cases reported in WA have been tied to visits to Thailand, Singapore, India, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
Things You Need to Know
• Symptoms - Dengue is a mosquito-borne illness that will manifest itself 3-14 days after being bitten by an infected insect. Symptoms vary, but include severe headache, aching joints and muscle, pain behind the eye, nausea and rashes.
• Treatment -Those who receive medical treatment almost universally recover completely from Dengue. A rare, but highly dangerous, form of the disease is Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever can lead to profuse bleeding necessitating transfusions.
- Those people visiting areas where dengue infections are being reported should avoid outdoor exposure in areas of "high mosquito activity," particularly at dawn and dusk.
- Stay in mosquito-proof accommodation. Sleep under a mosquito net, if there are mosquitoes seen in your sleeping area.
- Wear trousers and long-sleeved clothing when outside in mosquito-ridden areas.
- Use repellents containing diethyl toulamide or picaridin which are available in both lotion and gel forms. A popular local brand readily available in Bali is Autan.
- Children and infants need special care in terms of protective clothing and protected sleeping areas. Make sure repellents are rated safe for use by children.
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