Residents Urged to Clean Up to Avoid E. Coli


Bali residents need to improve their lifestyles and hygiene practices to avoid exposure to the potentially deadly E. coli bacteria and other contaminants, a health official has said.

Head of the Bali health agency I Nyoman Sutedja told reporters that the high risk of an outbreak of E. coli was largely caused by local lifestyles.

“It’s actually easy to avoid and to eliminate E. coli if we lead healthy lifestyles. You have to wash your hands frequently, eat clean and cooked vegetables and meats and keep your houses and neighbourhoods clean,” he said.

Around 40 people have died in Europe and thousands rendered ill, mostly in Germany, by an outbreak of an E. coli strain this month linked to bean sprouts.

Sutedja said that E. coli, which was recently recorded in piped water supplies in Klungkung regency, was spread through faecal matter, but was also present in the environment.

“The problem in Bali is rooted in people’s habits of eating raw fruit and vegetables straight from the soil such as cucumbers, snake fruit and meat that’s not properly cooked,” he said, adding that the fact that many people living in rural areas lacked proper sanitation, and lived in close proximity to their livestock, which also exacerbated the problem.

Dewa Made Ngurah of Bali’s Animal Husbandry Department said tests by ministry staff had found traces of E. coli in samples of meat from traditional markets.

“The level of E. coli contamination within the meat we checked, however, was still below the dangerous level, but we must keep on alert. The meat should be thoroughly cleaned with running water and cooked properly to kill the bacteria,” he said, adding that improved practices by vendors were also needed.

“They must place cut meat in specific containers, with ice if possible, to prevent contamination,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Denpasar city government has urged hotel management to join the organised municipal sewage-development programme, aimed to improve treatment of sewage in the Bali capital and improve environmental health.

AA Bagus Sudharsana, of the Denpasar environment agency said many tourism businesses operated using only their own basic waste-management systems.

“Many of them are still operating simple, traditional waste-processing plants,” he said, adding that the Denpasar Sewerage Development Project was intended to create a unified sewage treatment system for the entire municipality, including the Sanur resort area.

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One Response to “Residents Urged to Clean Up to Avoid E. Coli”

  1. Don Wallis Says:

    Just returned to Australia after a week in Bali. Three days at a beach-side villa near Canggu and another three days at a five-star villa in Ubud. Unfortunately, despite being paranoid about not drinking water except from sealed bottles and avoiding fresh salads that might have been washed in unprocessed water, even cleaning my teeth using bottled water, my wife and I both suffered diarrhea. I have also been vomiting (days after returning home) and a trip to the doctor resulted in a diagnosis of serious abdominal E-Coli infection. Yesterday I suffered the worst pain I could imagine, but today, after starting a course of double strength anti-biotic, I am beginning to recover. My point is, my enthusiasm for returning to this area is severely compromised. E-Coli infection is a serious and dangerous risk and should not be allowed to remain a cloud over the enjoyment of a holiday.

    Don Wallis.

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