Disease Scare Prompts Clean-Up Order
Bali hotels have been ordered to take better care of their facilities after 11 cases of Legionnaire’s disease surfaced in Australia among holidaymakers recently returned from Bali.
“I have instructed the hotels here to regularly clean their swimming pools and air-conditioners,” Governor I Made Mangku Pastika said.
The hotels in which 11 tourists are thought to have contracted the disease had been given an official warning. “There’s no need to name the hotels. But they have been summoned and sternly warned,” Pastika said.
No new cases of the disease have been reported.
Bali’s chief medical officer, Nyoman Sutedja, said last week there had been 11 recorded cases of foreign visitors contracting Legionnaire’s disease, a virulent form of pneumonia spread by contaminated water from showers, spas, swimming pools, fountains and badly maintained air conditioners.
Governor Pastika said all those infected had visited the island for between seven and 10 days and were over 45.
The disease, named for its identification in a pneumonia outbreak that affected elderly American veterans at a 1976 American Legion conference in Philadelphia, usually affects middle-aged and elderly people, particularly those who smoke or suffer from a lung disease, diabetes, a kidney disease or a weak immune system.
Sutedja said the recent cases should serve as a reminder never to underestimate the importance of proper sanitation.
Pastika said this week he had explained to the Australian consulate general in Bali what the authorities here had done in response to the outbreak and the reissued Australian advisory that alerted travellers to the risks of contracting Legionnaire’s disease.
The Australian embassy in Jakarta said this week the Legionnaire’s alert was issued because the disease was a serious health concern.
Meanwhile tourism officials here say they are confident the scare will not harm the all-important tourism sector.
A thermal scanner has been activated at Ngurah Rai International Airport to monitor travellers. It was last used during the bird flu scare.Filed under: Headlines