Given the scale of the flooding Townsville Hospital and Health Service are expecting to see increasing numbers of a range of infections, not just melioidosis, and are proactively testing for these illnesses.
On Tuesday, February 11 the news broke that a case of melioidosis took a woman's life in Townsville, so the message is to make sure you're taking extra care in flood impacted areas.
Melioidosis and many infections that stem from flooding can more severely impact people who are unwell or elderly or have existing chronic conditions.
Townsville Hospital and Health Service are asking the community to check on their neighbours, elderly, sick or disabled and if they are unwell or have a fever call a doctor or an ambulance.
If you're needing help with the clean-up you should be asking for help from the SES or council.
The vital public health message has been to ensure flood water doesn’t get into your body through cuts and scratches.
- chest pain during breathing
- high fever
- headache and general muscle soreness
- weight loss
The public are also reminded to take extra car when cleaning areas covered in mould.
CEO of Asthma Australia Michele Goldman says those with respiratory sensitivity needed to be particularly careful during the clean-up period.
“Mould and fungal spores are a known trigger for causing asthma,” she said.
“Spores are airborne, as you breathe in, they enter the airways and can trigger serious breathing difficulties and allergic reactions.”
People with asthma who are more likely to have asthma triggered by fungal and mould spores include:
- Babies and children
- The elderly
- Those with existing allergies and skin conditions such as eczema
- Those with a lowered immune system
- People with severe asthma