Urgent tourist alert in Bali over Nipah bat virus with 75% mortality rate: All tourists must be screened – here are the symptoms Australians should watch out for
All tourists traveling to Bali will be tested for the deadly Nipah bat virus, as health authorities scramble to respond to a surge in cases overseas.
Health officials on the Indonesian holiday island said any tourists with symptoms such as a high temperature or respiratory tract infection would be taken to hospital for further testing. Those arriving from India would be particularly monitored.
There has been an outbreak of the virus, carried by bats and with a very high mortality rate, in Kerala, southern India, in recent weeks, which resulted in two deaths.
There is no treatment or vaccine for the Nipah virus, which targets the brain, and the mortality rate for those affected is estimated by the World Health Organization to be between 40 and 75 percent.
Symptoms of Nipah include fever, respiratory distress, headache, sore throat and vomiting.
Health officials on the Indonesian holiday island said any tourists with symptoms such as a high temperature or respiratory tract infection would be taken to hospital for further testing – with those arriving from India particularly monitored (stock image)
Bali health officials to screen passengers with temperature-screening devices (stock)
Indian tourists make up the second largest group of foreign visitors to Bali, with just under 280,000 visitors between January and August this year, according to the Bali Provincial Tourism Office.
Australians make up the largest group of foreign visitors.
“We must remain vigilant against the threat of the Nipah virus,” Bali health official I Nyoman Gede Anom said, according to The sun of Bali.
“At the airport, temperature detection devices are in place. If a tourist is found to have a higher than normal body temperature, this will prompt further investigation,” Anom added.
He stressed that the Nipah virus has not yet been identified in Indonesia, but warned that its long incubation period was a cause for concern.
The Nipah virus has an incubation period of approximately four to 14 days, according to the World Health Organization.
Symptoms of Nipah include fever, respiratory distress, headache, sore throat and vomiting. There is no treatment or vaccine for this disease that targets the brain.
Mr Anom said Bali health officials had assembled an elite team of neurologists, surgeons and other specialists in case cases were detected.
It is transmitted to humans through direct contact with the bodily fluids of bats, pigs, or other infected people.
It was first identified in 1999 during an outbreak among pig farmers and others in close contact with pigs in Malaysia and Singapore, which resulted in nearly 300 human cases and more than 100 deaths. .
More than a million pigs have been slaughtered to help control the outbreak.
The WHO has confirmed that no new cases of the virus have been detected in Kerala since September 15.