Australians warned of Zika virus in Indonesia

20-Jun-2016 Intellasia | SMH | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Pregnant women are being advised to consider postponing travel to Indonesia with the Australian government updating its travel advice to warn the country is experiencing sporadic transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

The virus has been linked to a surge of microcephaly – a devastating birth defect that has seen thousands of babies in Brazil born with unusually small heads and often severely compromised.

On its smart traveller website, the Australian government says it advises all travellers to Indonesia to protect themselves from mosquitoes.

“Given the possibility that Zika virus can cause severe malformations in unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, pregnant women should discuss any travel plans with their travel doctor and consider postponing travel to Indonesia,” the warning says.

The overall travel advice has not changed, with Australians advised to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including Bali.

This week the Indonesian Ministry of Health launched an investigation in the village of Tangkil in East Java after Taiwanese authorities advised that an Indonesian from the area had been diagnosed with Zika.

The 22-year-old crew sailor reportedly arrived at Taiwan’s international airport on June 2 with a fever and red eyes.

The health ministry’s director general for disease prevention and control Mohammad Subah gave his assurance the health ministry had taken proper steps to respond to a possible outbreak of the virus in Indonesia, according to the Jakarta Globe.

“The provincial and district health agencies in East Java have started to investigate the epidemiology of the disease,” he was quoted saying on the news website.

“They are collecting information about time, persons and places.”

He said Indonesia had secretly already tested dengue fever patients for the virus on many occasions. “The results have so far been negative for Zika.”


Category: Health

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