Five rare diseases in two weeks

A GLADSTONE doctor says he’s had a disastrous two weeks diagnosing patients with five illnesses that tend to appear every couple of years and one case he’s never seen before.

Dr Stephen Rigby, of Gladstone Central Medical Centre, says in the past two weeks he has diagnosed one patient with vibrio cholerae, one with Legionella; one with psittaci caused by Chlamydia psittaci bacteria, one with influenza type A and whooping cough in a 10-month-old.

“In my 38 years practicing medicine, I’ve never seen one (vibrio cholerae in the flesh),” he said.

“It’s a very rare form that causes tissue infection that you can get from contaminated water or oyster cuts…. It can lead to severe flesh eating and where you can lose a limb”

“It’s been very hard to treat.”

Dr Rigby said the Chlamydia was not the sexually transmitted type.

“Of those five diseases, you might see one in every two or three years.”

Dr Rigby said every one of those had the potential to kill the patient.

The vibrio cholerae case is not the same strand of flesh eating bug as that of the case The Observer reported in May of fisherman Jim who believed he contracted a strand of a flesh eating bug after fishing in the Calliope River in February.

Cholera is not found in Australia, but the vibrio cholerae organism is found in Australian water systems where there is salty (brackish) water.

A Queensland Health spokesperson said there were 10 cases of invasive meningococcal disease in Central Queensland last year.

There have been 32 confirmed notifications of pertussis in Central Queensland in the four weeks to April 3.

There have been nine confirmed cases of influenza in Central Queensland in the four weeks to April 3.

There has not been a confirmed case of legionnaires disease in the Gladstone area for several years.

A case of cellulitis caused by vibrio choleri has been reported, however this is not related to the diarrhoeal disease cholera.

There have been no local reports of Chlamydia psittacosis, which is usually transmitted to humans from birds in the parrot family.



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