Dain­tree ul­cer cure no closer

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

QUEENS­LAND re­searchers of the Dain­tree ul­cer are col­lab­o­rat­ing with ex­perts in Vic­to­ria and around the world to de­ter­mine the cause of the in­fec­tion.

Lack of fund­ing and avail­able qual­i­fied re­searchers has meant aca­demics at James Cook Univer­sity rely on re­search from a sim­i­lar in­fec­tion in Vic­to­ria.

Cur­rent the­o­ries in­clude the pos­si­bil­ity of the in­fec­tion com­ing from ring­tail pos­sums and spread­ing via the mos­quito.

This may not re­late di­rectly to the Dou­glas re­gion, how­ever, once a cause is con­firmed in Vic­to­ria or some­where else glob­ally, this can be used to help de­ter­mine the ex­act cause rel­e­vant to the Dain­tree ul­cer.

Pro­fes­sor John McBride from James Cook Univer­sity said they need more re­searchers who are qual­i­fied to study the in­fec­tion.

“Re­search hap­pens when fund­ing be­comes avail­able, like with the Hen­dra virus, the Govern­ment made money avail­able so re­searchers will drop what they’re do­ing to take it on,” he said.

At the mo­ment, the best so­lu­tion is co­op­er­a­tive re­search with the Mel­bourne team, lead by ex­pert Dr Paul John­son from Austin hos­pi­tal in Mel­bourne, who is com­ing to visit the re­gion from Oc­to­ber 24.

“We will have a dis­cus­sion on where we might go with re­search - they are go­ing through some­thing sim­i­lar with out­breaks in Vic­to­ria, they have clues and have pub­lished work on mos­qui­toes,” Prof McBride said.

“I’m or­gan­is­ing a visit to the Dain­tree re­gion to get a lay of the land, visit peo­ple and have a few meet­ings with ex­perts who know about the en­to­mol­ogy and zo­ol­ogy of the area.”

There have been 27 con­firmed cases of the Dain­tree ul­cer this year, ac­cord­ing to Queens­land Health.

Act­ing di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­ease con­trol at the Cairns Pub­lic Health Unit, Dr Richard Gair, said Queens­land Health is tak­ing the re­cent rise in Dain­tree ul­cer cases se­ri­ously.

“The in­fec­tion oc­curs in hu­mans in more than 32 coun­tries and there is a sig­nif­i­cant world­wide ef­fort to fur­ther un­der­stand the bac­terium and Queens­land Health is part of this ef­fort,” he said.

“Med­i­cal ad­vice should be sought promptly for any non-heal­ing ul­cers, but the Dain­tree ul­cer pro­gresses slowly and is cur­able with a two-month course of an­tibi­otics and surgery to re­pair the skin may be re­quired in some cases.”

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