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Monday, March 31, 2008

Common Illlnesses In Indonesia

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Common Illlnesses In Indonesia

The most common adult and childhood illnesses are the same as those in your country eg. coughs, colds and flu and ear infections but there is a higher incidence of stomach upsets with associated vomiting and diarrhoea.

Gastrointestinal Infections:
• There is a wide range of these infections including eg Travelers’ diarrhoea, food poisoning,
• Hepatitis A, Typhoid Fever, parasites eg Giardia and Entamoeba.
• These infections are transmitted by the faecal-oral route from contaminated food or water. “If you can’t cook it, peel it or boil it, leave it”
• Avoid infection simply by careful food handling and food choice, eg avoid shellfish, raw fish and salads, do not drink tap water.

Most expats will suffer at least one bout of this very common problem. Treatment:
- Fluid replacement eg water or Gastrolyte.
- Do not use lemonade etc.
- Avoid dairy foods for a few days.
- Take Imodium to control diarrhoea.
• If you have a high fever, if you feel very ill, if you pass blood or if the Diarrhoea persists for more than 3 days or if you are worried then see a doctor.

Skin conditions:
• Fungal infections such as Tinea, Thrush and Ringworm are common.
• Wear cool clothing, dry feet & skin creases thoroughly after showering.
• Topical fungicidal creams eg Canesten are available over the counter.

Ear Infections:
• Swimmers ear or Tropical Ear is a very painful, common condition. It does not indicate a dirty pool. • Aqua Ear should be used after swimming to dry the ears particularly if you or your children frequently use the pool. • Ear plugs may help but are rarely completely effective.

• Coughs and colds and flu are more frequent in Indonesia especially in
new arrivals.
• Treat with bed rest, extra fluids and Paracetamol or Proprietary Cold Flu
preparations. Antibiotics are not effective. • If you feel particularly unwell or in doubt about the problem see a doctor

Sexually Transmitted Diseases:
• These are very common especially Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia. Less common are Genital Herpes, Genital Warts and Syphilis. IV drug use is extremely dangerous.
• Hepatitis B is very common in Indonesia and can be transmitted sexually.
• HIV/ AIDS is uncommon but the incidence is increasing.
• Safe sex is essential. Avoid using local brand condoms.
Reputable brands of condoms are available from the clinic, hospital or pharmacies.

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Tropical Diseases Living In Jakarta

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• Malaria is uncommon in all major cities, most of Java, Bali and generally in major tourist resorts. Malaria prophylaxis is not necessary in these areas.
• All other areas are presumed to be Malaria areas especially rural districts.
• Mosquito protection is essential to protect from Malaria and other mosquito borne infections in all parts of Indonesia.
• Risk of Malaria depends on length of stay, type of accommodation and destination.
• If you traveling outside Jakarta contact your Doctor to advice on Malaria prophylaxis.
• Any fever after traveling in Indonesia must be investigated to exclude Malaria.

Typhoid Fever:
• Typhoid is contracted from contaminated food and water.
• It is an uncommon infection in expats but common in the Indonesian population.
• Clinical diagnosis is difficult. Laboratory diagnosis takes 3-4 days so antibiotic treatment is usually started if Typhoid Fever is suspected.
• Vaccination is recommended but does not give complete protection.

Dengue Fever:
• Dengue is a viral illness spread by mosquitoes. Most cases occur during the wet season from about December to May.
• Symptoms are usually similar to the Flu. Often Dengue is mistaken for flu.
• Normally Dengue is a self limiting illness but rarely it does occur in a much more severe form known as Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever.
• Treatment of mild Dengue is rest, fluids and paracetamol with initial regular blood tests to check that the severe form of Dengue or complications are not developing.
• Prevention is simply to avoid mosquito bites and ensure there are no mosquito breeding sites eg free standing water around your accommodation.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Uncommon Diseases in Jakarta

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Rabies is a viral illness contracted from the bite, scratch or saliva of many warm blooded animals. Monkeys, dogs and cats are the common sources in Indonesia.

• Avoid touching or being licked by any furry stray animal in the street, markets or gardens.
• If bitten by a monkey or stray animal seek medical treatment immediately.
• Vaccination is available in Indonesia, and is recommended if you are living or travelling in rural areas.

Japanese B Encephalitis:
• This is a rare, viral illness spread by mosquitoes especially during the wet season.
• It usually occurs in epidemics in rural areas where there is surface water, pigs, horses and water birds.
• A vaccine is not available.

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