Images of Daintree Ulcer
Images of Daintree Ulcer

Flesh-eating bug case identified in Far North

THE Far North has recorded its first case of a flesh-eating bug for the decade, and health officials still don't know how it is being spread.

The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service has confirmed a single case of Daintree Ulcer in Mossman, within the past week.

 

Bob Whyte lost his right leg after contracting Daintree Ulcer. Photo: Glenn Hunt/The Australian
Bob Whyte lost his right leg after contracting Daintree Ulcer. Photo: Glenn Hunt/The Australian

A total six cases of the infection, which causes skin necrosis, were identified in the Far North last year, most in the Daintree/Mossman region where it is believed to be endemic.

Tropical Public Health Cairns director Dr Richard Gair said his unit was investigating exposures, to determine how the latest person became infected with the disease.

"We have to do this because the incubation period can be months, so the disease is not necessarily contracted in the same place as the patient lives," he said.

He said that the mechanism of the transmission of the bacteria that caused the infection, Mycobacterium ulcerans, was not clear. However he said it may be related to contact with soil, water or insects.

"People are advised to avoid contact with soil or water (in the Daintree/Mossman area) where possible," he said.



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