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Melioidosis in Australia

16 Feb 2012

The 2012, wet season in Australia has seen an increase in the number of cases of melioidosis in the Top End of the Northern Territory. Residents have been made aware of the risk of infection and are advised to take steps to protect themselves.

The Centre for Disease Control has recorded 54 cases, three of which have died as a result of the infection. Fifty four is the highest number of cases recorded this early in a season.

Advice for Travellers

Melioidosis is caused by a bacteria that is transmitted via contaminated soil. People can become infected by walking in muddy water, handling muddy items, or breathing air-borne particles while using high-powered hoses. Travellers should take precautions against the disease by wearing waterproof shoes, gloves, and masks when gardening or cleaning up after floods.

Those most at risk include those with underlying conditions, such as diabetes, heavy alcohol intake, cancer, advanced age, kidney or lung disease and those being treated for cancer and on long-term steroid therapy medicines.