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Nothing to Sneeze At

Bali Largely Spared by 'Swine Flue' to Date, But More Cases Almost Certain to Occur in a Disease that May Prove More Manageable than Originally Thought.


Bali News:
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(7/6/2009)

New Cases of suspected and confirmed H1N1 infections have become almost a daily occurrence in Bali, with more than 9 people – all foreign visitors – having been treated in the isolation ward of Bali’s Sanglah General Hospital.

Officially acknowledged as a worldwide epidemic and with neighboring Australia reporting more than 1 thousand cases, Bali is virtually certain to see more cases reported before the illness runs its global course.

Free medical care to sufferers, disinfecting and health screening of arriving aircraft and their passengers, a large supply of Tamiflu to treat sufferers and the distribution of protective masks are among the preventative measures now put in place by Bali authorities determined to minimize the spread of the disease. But, despite these measures, Bali's governor was quoted in NusaBali admitting that Bali’s popularity as an international tourism destination makes it difficult to stop the disease from eventually spreading on the island.

Among the most recent new patients admitted to Sanglah are:

• Troels Monk, 84 years, Denmark, admitted on July 2, 2009.

• Michael Aaron, 24 years, Australian

• Ryan Wood, 23 years, Australian

• Ariel S. Brian, 22 years, Australian

• Gerry O'Brian, 43 years, German

• Tayla Mari, 14 years, Australian

• James Antonucciu, 10 years, Australian

•George Coltman, 12 years, Australian

• Bobbie Masoner, 22 years, English resident in Australia.

As of Thursday, July 2, 2009, six of the nine patients were still warded in the Nusa Indah isolation unit at Sanglah Hospital. The remainder have been treated, declared no longer a threat to public health and released.

The governor has instructed all government agencies and the general public in Bali to cooperate in trying to control the spread of the H1N1 virus and prevent its spread to the local population in Bali.

No downturn in business has been linked to a fear of contracting the disease among inbound visitors to Bali. Worldwide, there appears to be a growing acceptance that, recognized and treated in a timely manner, H1N1 infections are seldom fatal, despite a momentary surge in deaths linked to cases in Mexico at the beginning of the current outbreak.

The provincial government of Bali has allocated approximately US$ 1 million from a special emergency fund to be used to combat the disease. This money is being used to pay for health surveillance teams, treating those suffering from the disease, purchasing Tamiflu and protective surgical masks.

Visitors to Bali from infected countries are being asked to consider using free surgical masks during the first three days of their stay in Bali, after which, symptom-free visitors can be considered free of the H1N1 virus.


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