Dis­ease out­break now un­der con­trol

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - NEWS -

THE lep­tospiro­sis out­break re­ported ear­lier this year in the Coffs Har­bour-Wool­go­olga area has sub­sided. Be­tween mid-April and the end of Au­gust, 50 peo­ple were con­firmed with the po­ten­tially fa­tal dis­ease. Since Au­gust 31 no new cases have been di­ag­nosed. The out­break was linked to a small num­ber of farms. “It’s con­fined to spe­cific lo­ca­tions and we are work­ing with the farm­ers re­spon­si­ble for those work­places and look­ing for ways to pro­tect hu­mans through the course of their work,” the Direc­tor of North Coast Pub­lic Health, Dr Paul Cor­ben, told the Ad­vo­cate in Septem­ber. In­fected work­ers were pre­sent­ing at Coffs Har­bour with the flu-like symp­toms that can be seen in the early stages of the dis­ease. Emer­gency De­part­ment physi­cians first no­ticed some­thing un­usual hap­pen­ing in late April and at the time were look­ing at other causes. Com­mon ini­tial symp­toms in­clude fever, se­vere headache, sore mus­cles, chills, vom­it­ing, and red eyes. Some peo­ple with lep­tospiro­sis can de­velop kid­ney fail­ure, jaun­dice and haem­or­rhage into skin and mu­cous mem­branes. Menin­gi­tis (in­flam­ma­tion of the lin­ing of the brain) and bleed­ing in the lungs can also oc­cur. Most peo­ple who de­velop se­vere dis­ease re­quire hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion and lep­tospiro­sis can some­times be fa­tal. Lep­tospiro­sis is listed as a “no­ti­fi­able con­di­tion’’, mean­ing it is re­quired by law to be re­ported to gov­ern­ment author­i­ties. Author­i­ties be­lieve it was the type of lep­tospiro­sis spread by in­fected ro­dent urine. “It’s not as­so­ci­ated with where peo­ple live but as­so­ci­ated with work­ing con­di­tions. Peo­ple in abat­toirs tra­di­tion­ally have been at high risk of lep­tospiro­sis,” Dr Cor­ben said.

Photo: lenet­stan

In­fected work­ers were pre­sent­ing at Coffs Har­bour with the flu-like symp­toms that can be seen in the early stages of the dis­ease.

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