Warning of the week – Australian diseases
As read in the Indendent on Friday 25th November 2011
Visiting Australia can be hazardous to your health, according to travel advice from the Foreign Office.
Anyone heading for the northern part of the country should be warned that dengue fever and Murray Valley encephalitis occur periodically. Both are transmitted by mosquitoes, and the only protection is to avoid being bitten.
A recent outbreak of dengue in northern Queensland involved more than over 900 confirmed cases in and around Cairns and Townsville. Several victims of the latter have died this year, including a Canadian tourist.
As dengue-carrying mosquitoes usually breed in urban areas, tourist activities in north Queensland – such as reef and rainforest trips – carry a low risk.
A final threat: “Since June, there have been several cases of hendra virus in Queensland and NSW. Spread by fruit bats or flying foxes, the virus is harmful to horses. If transmitted to humans it can cause respiratory illness, and in some cases death. In the current outbreak, the biggest in Australia, several horses have died and at least 30 people have been infected.”
Biosecurity Queensland has quarantined infected properties, including a tourist destination west of Cairns, and is tracing people who may been exposed to infected horses.