A scene from last year's Rabbits Eat Lettuce music festival. Photo Daniel Tran
A scene from last year's Rabbits Eat Lettuce music festival. Photo Daniel Tran Contributed

Concerns raised after case of 'extremely rare' disease

UPDATE, 2.30pm: VACCINATION supporters have spoken about their concerns after a woman contracted the extremely rare disease diphtheria after attending the Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival near Casino over the Easter long weekend.

Surgeon and spokesperson for the Stop the Australian (Anti) Vaccination Network (SAVN), John Cunningham, said diphtheria was "easily preventable in this day and age with a simple vaccination".

"This is a disease that we haven't seen in Australia for some years.

"In 2011 a 22-year-old unvaccinated Queensland woman died from the disease.

"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."

People who attended the Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival and have since fallen ill should seek medical attention.


ORIGINAL STORY: A MUSIC fan who attended the Easter long-weekend Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival near Casino has contracted the bacterial disease diptheria.

Organisers of the 'doof' took to Facebook to warn festival goers about the incident.

"One of our guests has contracted diphtheria whilst attending the event," organisers posted.

"The doctors have said it is likely she caught the bacterial disease while in the company of an international tourist or someone who has recently returned from overseas.

"It is extremely uncommon in Australia.

"The only way to contract the bacterial disease is to come in direct contact with an infected person so it is unlikely to have spread during the event."

"However, better to be safe than sorry."

Diphtheria is a contagious and potentially life-threatening bacterial infection, according to NSW Health.

Diphtheria bacteria can live in the mouth, nose, throat or skin on infected individuals.

The disease is normally spread from person to person in airborne droplets after an infected person has coughed or sneezed.

Diphtheria rarely spreads from close contact with discharges from an infected person's mouth, nose, throat or skin.

Without antibiotic treatment, people with diphtheria are infectious for up to four weeks from the onset of symptoms.

Some people become carriers and are infectious for longer.

If you have any of the following symptoms we recommend you attend a doctor immediately;

A thick, grey membrane covering your throat and tonsils.

A sore throat and hoarseness.

Swollen glands (enlarged lymph nodes) in your neck.

Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing.

Nasal discharge.

Fever and chills.