The Department of Health is asking residents in the Gulf Country and people assisting in the clean-up to be aware of the risks of melioidosis.
Meliodosis is caused by a soil-borne bacteria that becomes active in the tropics after periods of heavy rain. It is a serious disease that can kill. Treatment with antibiotics needs to be started in hospital and continued for several months.
“Melioids can enter your body through open cuts and wounds, and can also be inhaled,” said Dr Vicki Krause, Director at the Centre for Disease Control.
“When you’re cleaning up after Trevor, be sure to wear covered shoes, long pants and sleeves and also gloves. Wash any mud off your skin as soon as possible.”
People at high risk of melioidosis include those with diabetes, kidney disease, lung disease or cancer, people who drink a lot of alcohol, or who take medicines that weaken the immune system. Healthy people, however, can also contract the disease.
The most common symptoms include fever, cough with mucus and difficulty breathing. Other symptoms include skin sores that don’t heal or, for men, pain or difficulty when trying to urinate.
Anyone with these symptoms should seek urgent medical advice.