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Friday, March 22, 2013

Aussies Warned of Dengue Fever Dangers in Bali

Stray dogs being killed in Bali in an attempt to control rabies

New research from the West Australian Health Department has found a major increase in health risks for travellers to Bali, one of the most popular holiday destinations for Australians. In 2012, a total of 2,605 infectious diseases were acquired overseas. Of these, 41 per cent were caught in Indonesia, mostly in Bali.

In particular, Travel Insurance Direct has witnessed an increase in gastroenteritis and Dengue Fever, through a rise in insurance claims[1]. Internal data over the past 12 months reveals:

·         Medical claims account for 50% of all claims from travellers to Thailand and Bali
·         Of those medical claims, half are related to gastroenteritis and food poisoning
·         Dengue fever accounts for just under 10% of medical claims in Bali

According to Travel Insurance Direct, the alarming data highlights the need for better education about the risks of travelling abroad and the preventative measures travellers can take to reduce the risk of serious diseases.

Dengue Fever - Covering yourself head to foot in loose-fitting, light-coloured clothes is not ideal in a hot tropical climate! Other more convenient tips include:

·         Slop on plenty of insect repellent to exposed skin during the day – Australians are accustomed to an influx of mozzies at sunset and sunrise, but the type of mosquito that carries Dengue Fever is active during the day, in shaded areas and in built-up urban areas.

·         When you arrive at your accommodation in Bali look around for any stagnant water. Check old pots and upturned cans and dishes as these quickly become breeding grounds for mozzies. Plus, if any of those floral offerings around your accommodation haven't been replaced for a day or two, remove them yourself. Decaying flowers are perfect for mosquito breeding. (But remember to be respectful; they play an important role in the religious life of the Balinese.)

Bali Belly - key precautions to avoid Bali belly include:

·         Insist on food being prepared freshly for you, as there is no way of knowing whether it has been stored in optimal conditions
·         Stick to bottled water
·         Take a bottle of hand sanitizer with you and as well as giving your hands the once over, wipe your cutlery and glassware before use.

Rabies - Dogs are considered holy to the Balinese, which is why they're allowed to roam freely. Unfortunately this has lead to an explosion in the dog population, and an increase in rabies. If you are bitten this is where your travel insurance can really pay off.

The below graph represents growth in percentage of medical claims over the past year for Travel Insurance Direct:

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