THE Daintree ulcer might only affect a very small area and probably isn’t a very sexy disease to research or find an explanation for, but try telling that to the family of a young child - or anyone for that matter - who has just had a large chunk cut out of them.
I am not doubting the determination or expertise of researchers such as James Cook University’s Professor John McBride, but I struggle to understand how in this day and age the medical profession does not even know what causes the Daintree ulcer or how it is transmitted.
With all the scientific breakthroughs in DNA technology and other medical marvels in recent years, we seem to be no closer to working out the Daintree ulcer now than we were 10 years ago.
It appears the only reason more people aren’t more seriously maimed in the Douglas region from the Daintree ulcer is because of the awareness of local residents and medical professionals.
The Daintree ulcer has existed for generations in the local area, but we still don’t even know for sure if you catch it from the soil, mosquitoes or divine intervention.
Queensland Health has a lot on its plate, what with all the bungling of pay systems and the like, and probably isn’t too keen to throw some serious dollars into researching a problem which affects such a small pocket of the population.
But the unknown factors of the Daintree ulcer have now been a mystery for far too long.
We sit back and wonder at the poor living conditions of people in third-world countries, yet there seems to be no real impetus to truly get to the bottom of one of the world’s most baffling tropical diseases in our own backyard.
It is time for Queensland Health to provide a thorough explanation of exactly what it is doing to find out more about the Daintree ulcer, how much money is being spent and what the plan is to try and find a solution, or at least determine what causes it so preventative measures can be put in place.
Twenty-seven victims in one year might not seem like many on a national scale, but when those victims all come from the same community, and the affects are so long-lasting, it takes a terrible toll.