Doctors warn death and fever lurks in mud and floods after a spike in soil-borne disease cases in Far North Queensland.
Tropical Public Health Services (Cairns) Director Dr Richard Gair said there had been six confirmed cases of Melioidosis in the region so far this year, one fatal.
There have been nine confirmed cases of Leptospirosis since the start of the year.
Dr Gair said Melioidosis and Leptospirosis are both caused by bacteria typically found in soil and muddy surface waters.
“While it might be tempting to play in puddles, these heavy rains are further increasing the risk of exposure to Melioidosis and Leptospirosis so our advice is to stay dry,” Dr Gair said.
“The majority of infections occur when skin abrasions or wounds come into contact with contaminated wet soil or water,” he said.
A major flood peak similar to February 2009 flood levels is expected at Ingham this afternoon. https://t.co/ohU4eLFSmR
— Queensland Police (@QldPolice) March 9, 2018
Dr Gair said people who work outdoors or with animals need to be particularly careful and parents should keep children away from muddy or flooded areas.
Symptoms of acute Melioidosis include fever, cough and difficulty breathing; the effects can be very severe and almost always result in hospitalisation. Sometimes the disease may present as superficial skin infections or abscesses in various part of the body.
Leptospirosis symptoms include fever, headaches, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and bloodshot eyes.