Queensland man infected with flesh-eating bug
A QUEENSLAND man has become infected with a flesh-eating bug, prompting a warning for Far North Queenslanders to ward away mosquitoes that could be carrying the disease.
The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service has confirmed a male patient from the Mareeba Shire Council area has become infected with Daintree Ulcer within the past two weeks.
Tropical Public Health Services Cairns director Dr Richard Gair said while the man lived in the council area, it was unlikely his infection was contracted there.
"The exposure history is still to be confirmed," he said.
"Treatment details are confidential, however in general, the treatment consists of antibiotics first and then possibly surgical treatment if the ulcer does not respond to the antibiotics."
There has been four lab-confirmed cases in the Cairns health district so far this year of Daintree ulcer - also known as Buruli ulcer, a bacterial disease that causes necrosis of skin tissue.
The disease has been reported in more than 33 countries.
In Australia a majority of cases have been recorded in the Mossman-Daintree area, and coastal Victoria.
James Cook University research carried out this year found mosquitoes could be infecting people with the disease.
Dr Gair said while it was still not known how Daintree Ulcer infection was contracted, insect transmission remained a possibility theory.
"While research is ongoing into how the infection is transmitted, people are advised to avoid contact with soil or water where possible, particularly in the Daintree/Mossman area, and to avoid mosquito bites by covering the body with clothing and using insect repellent," he said.
Symptoms of Daintree Ulcer can include a spot that looks like a mosquito or spider bite, that forms on the skin - most commonly on the limbs.
The spot, which forms an ulcer, eventually grows bigger over days or weeks forming a crusty, non-healing scab.
The ulcer continues to enlarge.
Unlike other ulcers, this ulcer is usually painless and there is generally no fever or other signs of infection.
The infection may sometimes present with no ulceration but with localised pain, swelling and fever, raised lumps, or thickened or raised flat areas of skin.