A person is dead and another nine are sick from flood-related illnesses in Townsville following a once-in-a-century monsoonal deluge.
The cause is melioidosis, which stems from floodwaters that are heavily contaminated with dirt and bacteria, Queensland Health’s Julie Mudd said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Given the scale of the flooding we are expecting to see increasing numbers of a range of infections, not just melioidosis,” Dr Mudd said.
Melioidosis and many infections that stem from flooding can more severely affect people who are unwell, elderly or have existing chronic conditions, she warned.
Floodwater is heavily contaminated with dirt and bacteria so people are being warned to ensure it does not get into the body through cuts and scratches.
Two men drowned at the peak of the floods in Townsville and police are still searching for a 35-year-old man who disappeared in floodwaters at Groper Creek on Friday.
Mould problem after flooding
Mould is also threatening to hospitalise asthmatics like Melissa Gray who is forced to wear a mask or risk attacks.
She has had five asthma attacks in the past week.
Her Hermit Park home escaped flooding but her belongings have been destroyed by mould.
Thousands more homes are in the same situation, with white vinegar one of the only solutions to get rid of the problem.