Indonesia Concerned Over Swine Flu Spread From Australian Tourists

by VR Sreeraman on  June 24, 2009 at 12:54 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
Indonesia has expressed concern that Australian tourists are bringing swine flu to the resort island of Bali, after it confirmed its first two cases of the virus.
 Indonesia Concerned Over Swine Flu Spread From Australian Tourists
Indonesia Concerned Over Swine Flu Spread From Australian Tourists

Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said she was "very worried" that Australians who flock to Bali's famous surf beaches would spread the virus in a country that had so far avoided the worst of the pandemic.

"Honestly I'm very worried about people who come from Australia," she told reporters at a press conference held to announce the first two confirmed cases in Indonesia, including a British woman who lived in Australia.

"We have to be more vigilant about Australian tourists so there won't be more cases of H1N1 from Australia. One is enough."

The 22-year-old Briton was recovering in hospital in Bali after traveling to Indonesia from her home in the southeastern Australian state of Victoria, Dr. Agus Somia of Bali's Sanglah Hospital told AFP.

The pilot, 37, had traveled to Australia and Hong Kong before being diagnosed with (A)H1N1 in Indonesia, Supari said.

Both patients had been isolated and were recovering, she said, adding: "No Indonesians have been infected with swine flu here. It has all come from outside.

"Don't panic. It won't cause death but we should all be careful."

She said Indonesia was "taking specific action" at Bali's international airport at Denpasar, one of Indonesia's main entry points for foreign tourists especially Australians, to monitor passengers for H1N1.

Australia has 2,873 swine flu cases, more than half of them in Victoria. The country has recorded three swine flu-related deaths.

More than 310,000 Australians visited Bali last year, according to official figures.

Indonesian authorities have increased the use of body temperature scanners at airports and banned imports of live pigs and pork products in a bid to combat the disease, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

A(H1N1), which emerged in Mexico in April, has killed 231 people worldwide and infected more than 52,000 people in over 100 countries, but no cases had been confirmed in Indonesia until Thursday.

Indonesia is the country hardest hit by the H5N1 bird flu virus, with 115 dead, according to official figures.

Source: AFP

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