Health Dept reports 15 confirmed melioidosis cases in Samarahan as of Dec 8

Dr Ooi Choo Huck. Photo courtesy of Ministry of Health

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KUCHING, Dec 9: The Sarawak State Health Department (JKNS) has reported a total of 15 confirmed cases of melioidosis in Samarahan Division as of Dec 8.

Meanwhile, JKNS director Dr Ooi Choo Huck said, there are three suspected cases which are still pending results from environmental sampling.

As of now, there have been two cases of death from melioidosis infection in the division.

“Melioidosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei, which can be found in contaminated soil and water such as in rice fields, stagnant water and even lakes.

“This disease usually infects humans, animals and plants. Infection on humans occurs through direct contact with soil and water through wounds on the skin, eating or drinking contaminated food, inhaling dust or droplets of contaminated water,” said Dr Ooi in a statement today.

To date, he said, there is no vaccine that can prevent melioidosis infection, but it can be treated by using certain antibiotics.

Therefore he advised the general public to avoid exposure to water and soil contaminated with bacteria especially when they have physical wounds or chronic diseases.

“Wear waterproof shoes and gloves if involved in work exposed to contaminated soil and water such as farmers and gardeners. If there are any wounds on the body, wash and wrap them thoroughly using waterproof bandages before starting work.

“Ensure water is boiled before drinking. Immediately go to the clinic if you experience fever, headache, join pain, cough, chest pain, loss of appetite or swelling, sores and pus on the skin after exposure to potentially contaminated soil and water,” Dr Ooi added. — DayakDaily