Community & Business

14 February, 2023

Officials warn about increase in bacterial disease

HEALTH officials have warned Far North residents to be alert as cases of people being admitted to intensive care for the severe bacterial disease, leptospirosis, have recently increased.

Officials warn about increase in bacterial disease - feature photo

Leptospirosis is a dangerous soil-borne disease that occurs throughout mainland Australia but is more common in the tropics, especially after flooding.

The disease is spread through animal urine and humans can come into contact with the disease by working in an agricultural setting and recreational activities.

Symptoms of the disease include fevers, severe headaches, muscle aches, bloodshot eyes, coughing and vomiting.

“We know in the wet season that there are risks associated with flooded waters up in our region,” Tropical Public Health Services acting director Dr Annie Preston-Thomas said.

“One organism that we have seen a few cases of this year already is leptospirosis, it is a bacterium that is common amongst many animals.

“If people are in contact with rivers, mud, soil that is contaminated people can get quite sick with this condition.”

In the Cairns and Hinterlands region there have been 10 reported cases of the disease.


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