Editor’s com­ment:

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FEEDBACK - Greg Mclean Man­ag­ing editor

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.

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