The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs has posted a caution for Australians traveling to Bali advising that a "small number" of cases of Legionnaires' disease (Legionella pneumophila) have been detected among holiday makers returning from the island.
The cases have been linked to the popular Kuta region of Bali and a specific hotel and shopping center frequented by the 11 victims confirmed between August 2010 and January 2011. Of the 11 confirmed cases, 9 were Australian from Western Australia, one Dutch and one French national.
Efforts by health inspector, however, to find traces of the Legionella bacteria that causes the illness in the suspected hotels and shopping area have been unsuccessful.
Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jim Bishop, has warned Australian returning form Bali to "be on the alert" for "flu-like" symptoms, consulting their physician as soon as possible if they feel ill who they should inform the details of their recent travel to Bali.
Both Australian and Indonesian health officials are aware of the outbreak and are trying to identify a source for the infection, often found to vectored via air condition or water systems of hotels or public areas. While a definite source has yet to be identified, Bali hotel and public building operators in Kuta have been provided guidelines on how to disinfect water and air recirculation systems to eliminate the possibility of contamination.
Professor Bishop told the press: "There are specific antibiotics available to treat the disease. The time between a person's exposure to the bacteria and becoming sick is usually between two to 10 days. People most at risk of Legionnaires' disease are those over 50 years of age, smokers, and anyone whose immune system suppressed by medication or diseases such as cancer, kidney failure or diabetes. These people may experience more severe cases of the disease."
[World Health Organization Fact Sheet Legionnaires Disease]
[DFAT Smart Traveler Website Warning on Legionellosis Disease]
[Australian Legionnaires' Disease Alert to Travelers from Bali]
[Bali Hotel Association Statement on Legionnaires Outbreak]
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