23 December 2019

Legionnaires' disease warning for Bali travellers

Western Australians planning travel to Bali are being warned of a potential risk of Legionnaires’ disease if staying at – or spending time in the vicinity of – the island’s Ramayana Resort and Spa in central Kuta.

The Department of Health is also advising anybody who has recently visited that area of Bali to be alert to the development of symptoms of the illness.

The warnings follow the fourth notified case of Legionnaires' disease in a Western Australian holidaying in Bali since February.

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 – and two other cases from elsewhere in Australia had stayed at the same hotel or one adjacent – so it was prudent to exercise caution if staying at or visiting the hotel and surrounding area.

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 in large buildings and evaporative air conditioners
  • showers and warm water systems
  • spa pools
  • misting or droplet sprays
  • fountains.

Legionnaires' disease cannot be caught from people or animals.

For more information on Legionnaires' disease visit: Legionella



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