Written by Staff Writer at CNN
A widespread outbreak of Omicron Variant Leptospirosis (OVR) has been reported in Australia. The disease, which is generally transmitted to humans through contaminated water or contact with affected animals, is not contagious between humans.
After flying to Australia in late November, Ian de Lorenzo, an experienced rescuer from the United Kingdom, is now recovering from both a thigh infection and a wound on his back which swelled to nearly 1.5 times its normal size. The 64-year-old grandfather is still unable to move his back limb.
Lyrotype disease Australia, an Australian travel advice firm has confirmed it’s been contacted by a number of travelers who had visited the Oronitropic Desert from November 6 to November 23, 2018 who believe they may have been exposed to Encephalitis Sydrome, which is a variant of OVR.
In their response to CNN, the Australian health department advised travelers who remain unwell due to suspected Encephalitis Sydrome that they should “seek medical advice as soon as possible to help determine the cause of the patient’s illness.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported there has been an increase in the number of cases reported nationally between 2016 and 2017.
The rising cases of the disease were first highlighted by freelance journalist and recreational photographer Graham Jolly on his blog, Hunter Miller , who has been advocating for increased reporting on the disease and explaining how to identify it
At the time of writing, there have been 56 confirmed cases of the condition reported to the NSW Department of Health in 2018, while only 29 cases were recorded in 2017.
1 / 12 Ovarian Variant Leptospirosis. Credit: Stephen Reid
The number of cases are up from 40 in 2016, while 2017 saw a significant reduction in cases.
The health department did not indicate the specific symptoms of the disease, and the CDC advises people experiencing any of the following symptoms to seek medical attention: headache, fever, muscle aches, tiredness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal pain and loss of appetite.
While exposure to wildlife or infected animals may trigger an outbreak, infectious diseases cannot be transferred from one person to another. As many as eight individuals could potentially be infected.