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Campaign warns of tropical disease dangers

By Penny Timms, Friday December 7, 2012 - 16:21 EDT
Katrina Fong Lim says her father, Alec, who was also a lord mayor of Darwin, died from complications associated with melioidosis. -

Darwin Lord Mayor Katrina Fong Lim says there needs to be greater public awareness of the tropical disease melioidosis, which claimed the life of her father in the 1990s.

Ms Fong Lim says her father, Alec, who was also a lord mayor of Darwin, died from complications associated with the soil-borne disease.

Authorities have launched a public awareness campaign about melioidosis and say the number of infections are on the rise.

Ms Fong Lim says the elderly, those with chronic illness and men are most at risk of contracting the disease.

"It's a constant reminder, please be careful," she said.

"We've also got more people who might be susceptible to melioidosis; people like myself."

The Lord Mayor is a diabetic and says her father also suffered from the condition.

Territory Health Minister Dave Tollner says the wet season disease is caused by a bacteria found in soil and dust, and generally enters the body through cuts.

It can also become airborne.

"Last year, 97 people in the Territory became infected with melioidosis," he said.

"Alarmingly, nine people died from it.

"In the last three years, rates of melioidosis have tripled in the Territory and it is becoming a real concern."


© ABC 2012

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