The Northern Territory's Centre for Disease Control has warned people holidaying in Bali to protect themselves from a fast-spreading mosquito-borne virus.

Spokesman Dr Peter Markey says chikungunya is often mistaken for dengue fever or the Ross River virus but is more debilitating.

He says the number of cases of the emerging disease is increasing in Australia as it takes hold in South-East Asia and the western Pacific.

"If you do get sick when you come home, you have to think of chikungunya," he said.

"People often get tested for dengue and other things, and not always for chikungunya because it's a new disease."

Dr Markey says there have been cases reported among Territory tourists and the symptoms are similar to those of Ross River fever.

"Fever, rash, joint aches and pains, and it really does hurt," he said.

Dr Markey says the mosquitoes that transmit the disease are not found in the Territory.

"We do get detections of them coming in every so often but these are soon eradicated," he said.

"The dengue mosquito can transmit chikungunya.

"There is another mosquito, the Asian Tiger Mosquito, which is the notorious transmitter of chikungunya, and it is a particularly nasty mosquito."


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