A rare case of the deadly bacterial disease diphtheria has been reported in the northern rivers and it appears that the woman contracted it while attending a doof near Casino over Easter.
As many as 10 per cent of diphtheria sufferers die from the disease, which is extremely rare in western countries.
The woman who contracted it attended the Rabbits Eat Lettuce doof and festival organisers have informed attendees on the event’s Facebook page.
Stop the Australian (Anti) Vaccination Network (SAVN) spokesperson, surgeon John Cunningham, said that diphtheria was ‘easily preventable in this day and age with a simple vaccination.’
‘This is a disease that we have’t seen in Australia for some years. In 2011 a 22-year-old unvaccinated Queensland woman died from the disease,’ Mr Cunningham said.
‘Before that there were a handful of cases in the Northern Territory in the early nineties. It would be a tragedy if this new case had a fatal outcome,’ he added.
Diphtheria is spread through coughing and sneezing, with the infected person being contagious for up to two weeks after infection.
The incubation period for diphtheria is up to 10 days, but most commonly between two and five days. People who attended Rabbits Eat Lettuce and have subsequently fallen ill within that time period are advised to seek medical attention.
Symptoms include respiratory problems, a runny nose, sore throat, hoarse voice, swollen neck glands, and fever and chills.
Complications may include inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), inflammation of the nerves, kidney problems, and bleeding problems due to low blood platelets. Myocarditis may result in an abnormal heart rate and inflammation of the nerves may result in paralysis.