Bali Health Officials Issue A Warning Over Potential Nipah Virus Threat

Bali Health Officials Issue A Warning Over Potential Nipah Virus Threat

Due to a significant increase in Indian tourists visiting Bali, the Bali Health Authority has asked hospitals and community health centers to increase surveillance to prepare for a possible threat from the Nipah virus.

Republika quoted I Nyoman Gede Anom, head of the Bali Provincial Health Department, as saying that his organization has taken steps to work with the Port Health Department to thoroughly screen all visitors to Bali, especially those coming from countries that have had cases of Nipah virus in the past.

“In accordance with the Ministry of Health’s directive, we must remain vigilant regarding the Nipah virus threat,” he said yesterday. 

Indian tourists formed the second-largest foreign visitor group to Bali between January and August 2023, with a total of 288,873 visits, according to statistics from the Bali Provincial Tourism Office.

“At the airport, temperature detection devices are in place. If a tourist is found to have a body temperature above normal, it will prompt further inquiry,” Anom stated.

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Anom further underlined the need to refer people with fever and acute respiratory infection (ARI) who are traveling from nations where the Nipah virus is endemic to a hospital right away for a thorough examination.

“Specifically for the Nipah virus, we have assembled a team of neurologists, surgeons, and other specialists, as this virus targets the brain,” he said.

He emphasized that the Nipah virus has not yet been detected on Indonesian soil and that serious efforts are being made to prevent its introduction, especially in Bali. 

“Nevertheless, we must maintain vigilance due to the incubation period, which may mean a lack of fever upon arrival at the airport,” he added.

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In light of this, his office has emphasized in communications to all community health centers and clinics and in orders to hospitals that visitors from areas where Nipah virus is endemic who show signs of ARI should be hospitalized.

“We are also obliged to promptly report any identified Nipah virus cases to the Ministry of Health. Subsequently, a Ministry of Health team will conduct a reevaluation of the patient’s cerebrospinal fluid,” he affirmed.

Nipah virus is known to be transmissible from humans to humans in addition to zoonotic transmission from animals such as bats and pigs.

Contact with biological fluids such as urine and saliva, specimens, or consumption of tainted food can all cause this.