Daintree ulcer cure no closer
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.”