Far north Queenslanders are being urged to take precautions after recent floodwaters and mud caused a spike in soil and water-borne diseases in the region.
More than 90mm of rain saturated the Cairns region in just an hour on Wednesday evening with hundreds of homes losing power.
This comes after ex-tropical cyclone Niran battered north Queensland in early March, bringing heavy rainfall, gale-force winds and blacking out 42,000 homes at its peak.
The Tropical Public Health Service said due to the heavy rainfall, they received increased notifications of melioidosis and leptospirosis in recent months.
Dr Annie Preston-Thomas from TPHS said while cases were expected to increase over the wet season and first months of the year, the average amount of infections has nearly doubled already in 2021.
"There have been 17 cases of melioidosis across the Cairns and Hinterland region since January 1, including two deaths and four people requiring intensive care management," she said.
"There have also been 25 cases of leptospirosis in the region since the start of the year, with most occurring in the Cassowary Coast and Tablelands areas."
Both melioidosis and leptospirosis are potentially fatal bacterial diseases found in contaminated water and soil, with their outbreaks documented worldwide following extreme weather events.
Melioidosis is known to sometimes have a long incubation period and present months or years after exposure.
"Melioidosis is caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, which is typically found in muddy surface waters," Dr Preston-Thomas said.
"Most infections occur when skin abrasions or wounds come into contact with wet soil or water contaminated with the organism."
Dr Preston-Thomas said leptospirosis is prevalent throughout mainland Australia but is more common in the tropics, especially after flooding.
"It is caused by the bacteria Leptospira which is passed from animals to people," she said.
"Although it can be passed directly from animals, it is usually transmitted to people by skin or mucous membrane contact with urine of infected animals, which may be in water, moist soil or vegetation."