By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Officials with the Queensland Government are reporting increased cases of melioidosis and leptospirosis this year in the Cairns and Hinterland region in the Far North.

Notifications of both infections usually increase in the wet season, but notifications are higher than usual.

Melioidosis cases have been in Cairns, with several cases in Clifton Beach and Mount Sheridan. Since the beginning of the year, 17 cases have been reported.

Most leptospirosis cases have occurred in the Cassowary Coast and Tablelands areas. There have been 28 cases of leptospirosis in the since the start of the year. This is a nearly 65 per cent increase on the average amount of cases that have been recorded during the same period in previous years.

Dr Annie Preston-Thomas from the Cairns based Tropical Public Health Services said there is no vaccine for melioidosis or leptospirosis that works in people, but there were simple steps everyone could follow to prevent their risk of infection. These include:

  • Wear protective footwear; avoid walking barefoot on muddy surfaces or in muddy water, particularly if you have cuts or abrasions on your feet or legs
  • Wear gloves while working in the garden, farm etc
  • Wash hands before eating
  • Cover cuts and sores with waterproof dressings
  • Wash thoroughly (preferably shower) after exposure to soil or muddy water, and after working outdoors
  • Diabetics should maintain good foot care, with help from a podiatrist if necessary
  • To prevent leptospirosis, also clean up rubbish, long grass, food scraps and junk to keep rodents away

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