Health officials in Bali’s Badung Regency have released a statement to confirm a recent rise in cases of Dengue Fever. The mosquito-borne virus is a serious viral disease that is caused by being bitten by an infected mosquito. While most people recover within a week or so, in some cases the virus can cause severe symptoms that need to be treated by medical specialists.
Speaking at a press conference on the 7th of July, the Acting Head of Badung Health Office, Dr I Wayan Darta, told reporters ‘For DHF [dengue] in Badung, it shows an increase. From January to June 25, 2022, the total number of DHF [dengue] patients was 771 people. However, [from 25th until today] I don’t know the details, maybe up to 800 people cumulatively’.
The Badung Health Office, and all health offices across Indonesia, closely track dengue cases at all times. According to data shared by the Badung Health Office, in January 2022 there were 89 recorded cases, which decreased to 52 in February, with 60 known cases in March.
Leading to April there was a further increase to 81 known cases, and a huge jump to 156 in May. Dr Darta explained that ‘If cumulatively until June 25, 2022, it reaches 771 cases, then the number of dengue cases in June 2022 is estimated at more than 300 cases’.
This rise in dengue fever has led health authorities to issue warnings and reminders to communities and visitors to increase their mosquito bite prevention efforts. While there are personal efforts people can take to avoid mosquito bites, like wearing loose clothing, using repellant and sleeping under a mosquito net, the most impactful ways to prevent the spread of dengue is through environmental efforts.
Dr Darta advised ‘Don’t leave standing water where mosquitoes can breed. In a moment there will be puddles of water from the rain, and mosquitoes will immediately look for them’. Homeowners and community leaders are advised to drain and treat any stagnant water and to conduct fogging operations to kill any mosquito nets.
He explained how the health department has been increasing environmental control efforts since April to try and curb the outbreak. ‘We still warn people to cultivate a healthy lifestyle because fogging alone has not solved the problem’.
When asked about the severity of the dengue cases, Dr Darta confirmed that fortunately, those who are testing positive for dengue fever are not experiencing the most severe symptoms. Typically symptoms of dengue fever are very similar to the flu. Symptoms generally begin anywhere between 3 and 14 days after. Infection. High fever, strong headache, vomiting, aches and pains and an itchy rash are all classic signs of dengue fever.
In some cases a mild dengue fever can escalate to dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome, this is when the infection becomes life-threatening. During dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome, the blood vessels are damaged and begin to leak, medically referred to as haemorrhaging.
If travelers suspect they are experiencing symptoms of dengue fever they are advised to seek medical advice as soon as possible. Certain over-the-counter pain medication is not appropriate for treating dengue, including products containing aspirin and ibuprofen since this can cause bleeding and other complications.
In late May 2022, there was a rise in dengue cases in Bali’s Klungkung Regency. The local health authority conducted regular fogging and extermination efforts and cases in the area are reportedly under control.
While dengue is a serious disease health authorities have not issued any official warnings to travelers. Due to Bali’s tropical environment outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases are not uncommon. Fortunately, authorities in Bali are experienced in dealing with these kinds of outbreaks and researchers across South East Asia are edging ever closer to eliminating mosquito-borne diseases for good.
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