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Warning for Aussies visiting island paradise

Written by on June 28, 2024

A health warning has been issued to people travelling to Bali during the school holidays after the number of dengue fever cases in returned travellers tripled.

WA Health said the number of dengue fever cases compared with the same time last year had jumped from 107 cases to 322 cases. Eighty per cent of these cases had recently travelled to Indonesia.

The island paradise has reported more than 90,000 cases of dengue fever this year, with more than 9.5 million cases reported worldwide.

WA Health communicable disease control acting director Paul Effler said dengue fever was not to be treated lightly, with the mosquito-borne disease potentially causing severe illness.

“While most people will experience mild flu-like symptoms, the disease may be fatal especially for those who become infected with dengue fever a second time,” he said.

“The best defence against dengue fever is to protect yourself from mosquito bites when visiting Bali or other high-risk areas.”

The dengue virus is spread through mosquitoes that tend to bite during the day and are usually found around buildings in urban or semi-urban areas.

Symptoms may include fever, rash, headache, fatigue, and joint and muscle pain, with more severe disease presenting with abdominal pain, vomiting, and bleeding from the gums or nose.

There is no specific treatment for dengue fever, but the risk of contracting the illness can be reduced by protecting against mosquito bites when travelling overseas.

To avoid dengue fever, WA Health suggests that people should avoid areas of high mosquito activity and wear long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing.

Use a chemical-based insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, also known as PMD

Sleep under a bed net, preferably one treated with an insecticide, and close all doors and windows if they do not have insect screens.

Request hotel rooms be sprayed for mosquitoes if you notice them.

“If you do become seriously unwell overseas it is important to seek medical attention straight away,” Professor Effler said.

“Likewise, on your return to WA, if you become unwell see your doctor and inform them of your recent travel history.”