Published Date: 2005-01-16 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/EDR> Melioidosis - Australia (NT)
Archive Number: 20050116.0131
MELIOIDOSIS - AUSTRALIA (NORTHERN TERRITORY)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Sat 15 Jan 2005
From: ProMED-mail <email@example.com>
Source: News.com [edited]
3 tourists are in intensive care after contracting a potentially fatal
disease while on holiday in the Territory.
11 people, the 3 tourists and 8 Territorians, have contracted the
soil-based [bacterial infection] melioidosis since heavy rain started
falling on the Top End just before Christmas. 6 people have been struck
down with the disease in the past week alone.
The 3 tourists are in serious conditions at interstate hospitals. 2 of
those did not fall ill until they left the NT for their home states. All 8
of the Territorians required hospital admission. A Territory man, who was
diagnosed with the disease on Friday night, 14 Sat 2005, became the NT's
400th victim in 15 years.
6 mem and 5 women have contracted the disease so far this wet season. One
victim is a woman in her 20s, while the rest are in the 40-60 age group.
All 11 people fell into the major risk category.
Center for Disease Control director Dr Vicki Krause said melioidosis can be
a life-threatening disease that requires prompt and aggressive antibiotic
treatment. She said symptoms included skin ulcers or sores that failed to
heal, abscesses, unexplained fevers, weight loss, fatigue, cough, shortness
of breath, abdominal pain, urinary symptoms and headaches. She said small
cuts and sores on the hands and feet provided a route of infection but were
largely avoidable if simple protective measures were followed.
"People should wear waterproof gloves and shoes or boots when prolonged
contact with the soil is likely," Dr Krause said. People most at risk from
the disease include those with diabetes or cancer, and the elderly.
[byline: Paul Jackson]
[Infection due to _Burkholderia pseudomallei_ (melioidosis) is endemic in
focal areas of southeast Asia and northern Australia. Because _B.
pseudomallei_ is deemed to be a category B biowarfare agent, ProMED-mail
may continue to post cases of the infection even if from these endemic
areas. As indicated in the posting, most serious infections due to _B.
pseudomallei_ occur in individuals who are immunocompromised. In animal
models, higher inocula can cause more serious infection in immunocompetent
individuals. A discussion of the infection can be found in the ProMED-mail
post 20031217.3084. - Mod.LL]