Health authorities in tropical north Qld have alerted GPs working in the area to an increase in melioidosis and leptospirosis cases which have spiked above the wet season average. Of the 17 melioidosis cases recorded this year, ABC News advised late last week that there have been two deaths and ‘four required treatment in intensive care’, with infections reported in Cairns, including Clifton Beach and Mount Sheridan. People spending time outdoors and in the garden are advised to ensure any open wounds are covered. The warning on leptospirosis infections noted that the majority of cases have been reported ‘in the Cassowary Coast and Tablelands areas’.
Advice for travellers
Leptospirosis is spread through the urine of infected animals, typically rats. The bacterium enters the body through the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth, as well as through broken skin. Outbreaks are typically associated with exposure to floodwaters, making leptospirosis a low risk for most travellers. Read more about leptospirosis.
Before you travel, call Travelvax Australia’s telephone advisory service on 1300 360 164 (toll-free from landlines) for country-specific advice and information. You can also make an appointment at your nearest Travelvax clinic to obtain vaccinations, medication to prevent or treat illness, and accessories for your journey.