Rare disease cases rising after foreign travel

THE arbovirus chikungunya is an increasing threat to Australian travellers, researchers say, following a cluster of cases in a touring women's rugby team.

The Northern Territory Health Department has reported the cluster in a group of 16 Indigenous rugby players who competed in a sevens competition in Bali.

Eleven players reported symptoms consistent with arboviral illness including fever and arthralgia, with seven fulfilling the national case definition following testing.

The Communicable Disease Control Conference in Canberra is due to hear tomorrow that chikungunya - transmitted by some species of Aedes mosquitos - is on the rise worldwide and increasingly common in travellers returning from South-East Asia.

The conference has also been told imported dengue has surged in Western Australia, growing from an average 14 notifications a year between 2001 and 2006 to 500 last year, mainly due to Bali travel.

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