Mon, 12 Nov, 2018
Kiwis warned of deadly mozzie disease
Kiwis travelling to Bali have been issued a warning after a deadly mosquito-born brain disease is spreading throughout the popular tourist destination.
The health ministry of Indonesia says that an increased amount of Japanese encephalitis cases has been brought to light as of recently.
The disease, which is considered to be life-threatening, can cause blindness, weakness and movement disorders.
If the viral brain infection is contracted, the symptoms include fever, headache, neck stiffness, tremors, paralysis and convulsions, especially amongst younger children.
The disease can also send those affected into a coma or ultimately death, and those who are lucky enough to survive the deadly disease are usually left with neurological impairments that last throughout the course of their life.
According to The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDPC), the disease is currently spreading throughout Asia with countries such as India, Pakistan and Japan reporting an increased amount of cases.
With 30-50,000 cases reported per year, the ECDPC says that number has been seeing a decline due to vaccinations and an improvement in agriculture.
While the disease is most likely to occur from mosquitos, it can also be transmitted through birds, bats, cows and pigs.
The ministry is currently monitoring the disease in Bali, North Sulawesi and Manado but so far, Bali is the worst affected area.
“To intervene with (the spread of) this disease, we have been introducing vaccinations in Bali with pretty good results. We are intervening with immunisation,” said Vensya Sitohang, the Ministry of Health Director of Surveillance and Quarantine to news.com.au.
Children who are aged between nine months old to 15 years are eligible for vaccination as they are considered to be the most at risk when it comes to contracting the infection.
According to the ministry, 979,953 people have been vaccinated so far.
“The hope is that it prevents it early, so no physical disability is reached,” said Ms Sitohang.
Signs and symptoms occur within five-15 days after being bitten by the infected insect.
Those who are travelling to Bali or Asia are advised to remain covered up and regularly apply mosquito repellent to avoid getting bitten.
“A Japanese encephalitis vaccine is available for people aged 12 months and older and is recommended for travellers spending extended one month or more in rural areas of high-risk countries for JE,” the NSW Health website reads.
Contact your GP for further information on the vaccine.