Health experts issue urgent warning after bacteria in water turns deadly

Meliodosis is found in contaminated tropical soil and water (Picture: Getty Images)

An urgent warning has been issued after a deadly bacteria has killed two people in Australia with more feared to be infected.

At least 28 others have also been infected by the bacteria called called meliodosis since October 2023.

Six people have contracted the disease last week, and health officials are urging anyone who thinks they are infected to seek medical attention.

The disease can cause high fever, a cough, headaches and chest pains, but if left untreated can cause blood poisoning.

‘If left untreated, meliodosis can lead to severe pneumonia and blood poisoning, with around 10% of infections leading to death,’ Northern Territory Health said.

Most infections have originated in the Northern Territory of the country, but there have also been cases in Queensland.

The bacteria is found in contaminated tropical soil and water which can infect both humans and animals.

People have been advised to wear waterproof footwear when outdoors and to wear gloves if working in soil.

But with more heavy rain coming officials have said people should remain indoors as the wet weather can exacerbate the rate of infection.

At least 28 others have been infected by the bacteria since October last year (Picture: Shutterstock/TheBlueHydrangea)

Symptoms of meliodosis infection

  • Localized pain or swelling
  • Fever
  • Ulceration
  • Abscess
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Respiratory distress
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Joint pain
  • Disorientation
  • Central nervous system/brain infection
  • Seizures

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