Wear gloves to avoid bug risk is advice to farmers

Anne Mitchell: Wear gloves on the farm.
Anne Mitchell: Wear gloves on the farm.

FARMERS have been advised to wear gloves as ‘a matter of course’ in their farm duties and to always be diligent in terms of treating any cuts or bruises, following the death last year of a Clare farmer from a rare form of sepsis.

An inquest in Clare last month heard how a 77-year-old farmer from Kilrush in West Clare had died suddenly from a rare form of sepsis, known as ‘gas gangrene’ after his jeep went off the road on August 15 last year.

This rare and deadly form of sepsis (an acute bacterial infection of the body), can according to the Mayo Clinic, develop in an injury or surgical wound that’s depleted of blood supply.

The Mayo Clinic also state that people with diabetes, blood vessel disease, smokers and those who are seriously over-weight can also be more susceptible to the bacterium called Clostridium pefringens – the bug produces toxins which give a bubbly appearance to the skin. (Hence the term gas gangrene).

In the case of the Clare farmer who died from the bug – Tom Whelan – the pathologist at the inquest said that gas gangrene would result in death in 100% of treated cases and in 60% of cases even where treatment was given.

While the pathologist Dr. Gabor Laskai was unable to say specifically where the late Mr. Whelan contracted the bug from, he added that it could be picked up through contact with soil or animal faeces.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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