In response to the ongoing monkeypox outbreak in Jakarta, Bali has heightened screening measures at its main airport, Ngurah Rai Airport, to prevent the spread of the viral illness to the popular destination. Travellers, including both domestic and international passengers and airline crews, will undergo screening upon arrival using thermal imaging cameras to detect elevated temperatures.
Monkeypox, referred to as “mpox,” causes symptoms such as a painful rash, enlarged lymph nodes, and fever. While most individuals fully recover, the World Health Organisation notes that some may experience severe illness. The virus is transmitted through contact with infected bodily fluids, scabs, or blisters.
The increased vigilance is also directed at the potential presence of the Nipah virus, another serious threat. Bali’s airport officials are on high alert, given the recent deadly outbreak in Kerala, India. The Nipah virus, transmitted by bats, carries a high mortality rate with no known treatment or vaccine, posing a significant concern to health officials.
Handy Heyudhitiawan, the general manager at Ngurah Rai Airport, emphasized the coordination with the Port Health Office to implement necessary procedures and monitoring methods. The aim is to ensure the safety and comfort of airport users while preventing the spread of both monkeypox and the Nipah virus in the Bali region.
According to predictions from Maxi Rein Rondonuwu, the Director General of Disease Prevention and Control of the Ministry of Health, approximately 3,600 people in Indonesia could be affected by the monkeypox outbreak. Contact tracing efforts are underway in Jakarta to enhance public safety during the ongoing outbreak.
While acknowledging the seriousness of mpox, Rondonuwu reassured the public that the variant causing the current outbreak is not highly severe, with a relatively low death rate.
In parallel, Bali has formed a team of specialists, including neurologists and surgeons, to address potential cases of the Nipah virus. Although the virus has not been identified in Indonesia, the team’s preparation is crucial due to the virus’s four to 14-day incubation period.
The Nipah virus, first identified in 1999 during an outbreak in Malaysia and Singapore, resulted in nearly 300 human cases and over 100 deaths. The World Health Organisation has not reported new cases in Kerala since September 15, providing a semblance of relief amidst ongoing health concerns.