OZ - Two dead after soil disease strikes in flood aftermath

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Two dead after soil disease strikes in flood aftermath Source: AAP
Published: Tuesday March 7, 2:33 PM

Two elderly people died and four others have been hospitalised after being struck down with a deadly soil-borne illness in the aftermath of floods in north Queensland.

A 66-year-old man died last week and a 76-year-old woman died over the weekend after contracting Melioidosis, an infection caused by a bug found in soil in northern Australia.

The pair, both from Townsville, were thought to have picked up the bug which is also known as 'Gardiners disease' (Gardiners) after recent torrential rains swept the region.

The bug - Burkholderia Pseudomallei - lives in deep layers of soil and comes to the surface during the wet season.

The Tropical Public Health Unit has warned people to avoid walking in wet soil because the bug is picked up through the soles of the feet.

People should also keep their shoes on because the bug enters the body through cuts which come into contact with contaminated soil or water, a health unit spokeswoman said today.

She said the four other patients with the disease were being treated in hospital, but their conditions were unknown.

Two Torres Strait Islanders spent several weeks in hospital in January being treated for the illness.

She said it was more likely to strike people with underlying conditions such as diabetes, lung or kidney disease, immune system problems, or with a high alcohol intake.

The disease can live in humans for several years before presenting itself in the form of severe pneumonia or septicaemia (blood poisoning), the spokeswoman said.

Twelve people were treated with Melioidosis in Darwin earlier this year and four people died in Townsville in 1996.


Posted to add to the bizarre file...,err,that does it - no more grog!

Regards from a bizarre place

-- Pieter (zaadz@icisp.net.au), March 07, 2000


Doesn't surprise me a bit. After the floods here in the Midwest in 93' when the water went down, phewwwww! did it stink. Glad I live on a very high hill. That cured me of my longing to live on the river.

-- gilda (jess@listbot.com), March 07, 2000.

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