Legionnaires’ disease warning for Bali travellers

Stock image.
Stock image.

PERTH holidaymakers heading to Bali are being warned of a potential risk of Legionnaires’ disease.

The Department of Health has confirmed the fourth notified case of Legionnaires’ disease in a Western Australian holidaying in Bali since February.

Experts say the warning affects people staying at or spending time at the Ramayana Resort and Spa in central Kuta.

The Department of Health is advising anyone who recently visited that area of Bali to be alert to symptoms of the illness.

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia, most often affecting the middle-aged and elderly, particularly those who smoke or who have lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease or a weakened immune system.

Director of Communicable Disease Control at the Department of Health, Dr Paul Armstrong, said that although the exact source of the disease remained unknown, all four WA cases had stayed at the Ramayana Resort and Spa.

Two other cases from elsewhere in Australia had either stayed at the same hotel or one adjacent.

The hotel was linked to earlier outbreaks in 2010 and 2011 which affected at least 13 Australians – 12 of whom confirmed staying at the Ramayana Resort and Spa.

Dr Armstrong said the Commonwealth Government had informed its Indonesian counterpart of the Australian cases from earlier in 2019, and that Indonesian health authorities had subsequently advised that they had investigated potential sources of the outbreak.

Dr Armstrong said early symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease were typically a ‘flu-like’ illness.

“They may include fever, chills, muscle soreness, headaches, tiredness, reduced appetite and diarrhoea, along with dry cough and breathlessness,” he said.

“We advise any Western Australian who develops flu-like symptoms within 10 days of returning from Bali to contact their GP.

“Legionnaires’ disease is treated with specific antibiotics, and while most people recover, some may develop severe pneumonia requiring hospitalisation.”

Legionella pneumophilia is a type of bacteria commonly transmitted by the inhalation of water droplets from contaminated warm water environments such as air conditioning cooling towers, evaporative air conditioners, showers, spa pools, misting sprays and fountains.

Legionnaires’ disease cannot be caught from people or animals.