Tropical Diseases - Divers Lodge Lembeh - Lembeh Strait


Divers Lodge Lembeh has taken the time to collect some general information about tropical diseases. Please feel free to e-mail us if you would like to know more.


Travellers’ diarrhoea is a condition characterised by a marked increase in the frequency of unformed bowel movements and is commonly accompanied by abdominal cramps, urgency, nausea, bloating, vomiting, fever, and malaise. Particularly risky foods that can cause TD are raw or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood, raw fruits and vegetables. Tap water, ice, and unpasteurized milk and dairy products are also associated with increased risk of TD. Most cases of diarrhoea are self-limiting and require only simple replacement of fluids and salts by using sachets of ORS.


Medication in advance is recommended.
There are four different parasites that can cause different forms of malaria. The parasite is transferred by mosquitoes. Because of resistance of the parasite against several of the anti-malaria medicines, even if you take appropriate prophylactic medicine, malaria can occur. After infection it may take several days and sometimes years, before symptoms appear. At first the resemblance with an ordinary flu may be confusing (headache, fever, nausea, muscle ache). Diagnosis can be obtained through examination of blood. Therapy with other anti-malaria medicine must follow. The best way to prevent malaria is not getting mosquito-bites!


No vaccinations or medications are yet available.
Dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) are viral diseases transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which is active during daytime. Dengue fever is characterized by sudden onset after an incubation period of 3-14 days (most commonly 4-7 days), high fevers, severe frontal headache, and joint and muscle pain. Many patients have nausea, vomiting, and rash.
In rare cases dengue can also present as a severe, sometimes fatal disease characterized by hemorrhagic manifestations and hypotension (DHF/ dengue shock syndrome).


Vaccination are available in advance.
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that causes a moderately sore throat with a greyish membrane over the infected area (usually membranes of the tonsils, pharynx, or nose) with low grade fever. In severe cases the neck tissue may become very swollen.
It is passed from person to person by droplet transmission, usually by breathing in diphtheria bacteria after an infected person has coughed, sneezed or even laughed. It can also be spread by handling used tissues or by drinking from a glass used by an infected person.
Tetanus is a disease which is caused by an infection of the bacterium Clostridium Tetani. Tetanus spores are present in soil worldwide and may be introduced into the body during injury through a puncture wound, burn or trivial, unnoticed wounds. All wounds, even minor ones should be thoroughly washed with clean water and soap taking particular care to remove all dirt and loose tissue.
Polio is caused by a virus which is spread from person-to-person primarily through faecal contamination of food and water, although it can also be spread by droplet transfer.
In many cases infection with the polio virus is asymptomatic. When symptoms do occur, the onset of polio is sudden with fever, headache, nausea and vomiting as the virus multiplies in the gut. The virus then invades the blood stream and nervous system. Paralysis occurs in less than 1 in 100 cases of infection.


Vaccinations are available in advance.
Hepatitis A is the most common vaccine-preventable infection acquired during travel. It is a viral infection of the liver caused by hepatitis A virus (HAV). Clinical manifestations of hepatitis A often include fever, malaise, anorexia, nausea, and abdominal discomfort, followed within a few days by jaundice.
HAV is shed in the feces of persons with HAV infection. Transmission can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested from sewage-contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling.


Vaccinations are available in advance.
Typhoid fever can be a life-threatening illness, but mild and atypical infections also occur. The hallmark of typhoid infection is persistent, high fevers. Other common symptoms and signs include headache, malaise, anorexia, enlargement of the milt, and slowness of heart beat. You can get typhoid fever if you eat food or drink beverages that have been contaminated by a person who has been infected with the bacterium or if sewage contaminated with the bacteria gets into the water you use for drinking or washing food. Typhoid fever is usually treated with antibiotics and persons treated with antibiotics usually improve within 2 to 3 days.


Vaccinations are available in advance.
Yellow fever is a viral illness which is spread by the bite of a mosquito. Many yellow fever infections are mild and go unrecognised but severe and life threatening illness is not uncommon. After an incubation period of about three to six days fever, headache, abdominal pain and vomiting develop. After a brief recovery period, shock, bleeding and signs of liver and kidney failure develop. Liver failure is associated with jaundice hence the name “yellow fever”.


Vaccinations are available in advance
Hepatitis B is a serious illness which is spread as described above. Symptoms include chronic fatigue, loss of appetite, fever and jaundice. In a small percentage of individuals the disease may cause permanent damage or liver cancer. Vaccination is recommended for those travelling to areas of high prevalence who plan to remain there for lengthy periods such as voluntary workers, who may be at risk from medical or dental procedures carried out in those countries. Short term travellers are not generally at risk but may place themselves at risk by their sexual behaviour. It is given as a course of three 1ml intra-muscular injections, the second 28 days after the first and the third 6 months after the second.