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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Australia : Warning as three die from soil disease

Via The Australian, excerpt :

" Health authorities in northern Australia have warned residents to take precautions against a killer soil-borne illness after revealing it has caused three deaths and a record number of infections.

The disease, melioidosis, is caused by bacteria that live in the soil, and is a seasonal hazard across the Top End, as well as parts of Southeast Asia.

The Northern Territory Centre for Disease Control yesterday warned people to take extra care as the disease had infected 54 people so far this wet season - a record at this stage of the year. Three of the patients had died, with the most recent death at the end of last month.

CDC director Vicki Krause said the melioidosis season did not end until the rains abated and the ground dried out, meaning people would remain at risk of infection "for several months yet".

The disease is caused by bacteria called burkholderia pseudomallei, which normally live deep in the soil but after heavy rains can be found on the surface, in muddy puddles and can even be airborne."

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