Study looks at mystery water bug
IF YOU just drank a glass of water there is a chance you also consumed a bacteria that has caused some people to lose 40% of their lung function.
Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) can be found just about anywhere - in shower steam, drinking water and even the dust in your house.
NTM can be also be in potting mix, soil, indoor swimming pools and spas - even the rain.
What is known is that over time, it can proliferate in water distribution systems, household plumbing and even your lungs.
What isn't known is why some people are completely fine from exposure to NTM while other seemingly healthy people become so ill because of it.
Every year more than 200 Queenslanders get very sick from the nasty, little-understood bacteria.
Ipswich people are being invited to take part in a study being conducted at Greenslopes Private Hospital in Brisbane.
Dr Rachel Thompson of the hospital's Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation is at the forefront of finding ways to understand NTM infection.
She has tested the drinking water from Brisbane and Ipswich and is now exploring what is missing in people infected with NTM.
People who smoke and have lung conditions are particularly vulnerable, but seemingly healthy people also get sick.
Symptoms start with an innocuous cough you can't shake. Over weeks and months the wheezy, deep, chronic bark becomes progressively worse and you might even start coughing up blood.
Treatment can involve a cocktail of antibiotics taken for 12 to 18 months.
For more information go to gallipoliresearch.com.au.