Lincoln's legacy will be to save lives
THE parents of a Whitsunday boy who died from the rare but deadly Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV) are setting up a foundation in the hope that others to do not suffer the same fate.
The story of what happened to eight-year-old Lincoln Flynn was finally told on Channel 9's 60 Minutes program on Sunday night.
Lincoln, who lived on Long Island with his mother Michelle Flynn, step-father Colin Boucher, sister Lauren and step-sister Ashley, was scratched on the wrist by a bat at the resort's tennis courts, late last year.
Described by his family as a tough little kid who loved his outdoor life, Lincoln apparently thought nothing of the incident and did not tell his parents. If he had done so, Lincoln could have been vaccinated and his life may have been saved.
The Lyssavirus Foundation will aim to increase awareness of the disease.
It will provide educational programs and information for all school age students and their parents about ABLV.
It will assist Queensland Health in providing information and awareness to all medical staff particularly in emergency departments and it will ensure some form of research into the virus is undertaken.
The foundation will develop and execute a fundraising strategy to ensure that all of these objectives are met.
The tough decision by Lincoln's parents to tell their son's story on Sunday night may already be saving lives.
A spokesperson from Queensland Health said that since January 1 this year, 273 people had sought lyssavirus vaccinations compared to 131 in the same period last year.
"Of the 273, 33 have been from the Townsville Public Health area which includes Proserpine and the Whitsundays," the spokesperson said.
Mackay Base Hospital Emergency Department physician Dr Neale Thornton described the disease as "very rare but fatal" and said anyone who had been bitten or scratched by a bat should seek urgent medical attention.
"If someone is immunised early on, within a short period of them being bitten, it's virtually 100 per cent chance that they won't get the disease," Dr Thornton said.
"It can be prevented from happening. But it can't be cured. So that's why it's so important, if anyone has been bitten or scratched by a bat, to go to the emergency department or see their local GP."
Dr Thornton said vaccination was very successful, partly because the disease had a long incubation period, which varies from weeks to months.
A Lyssavirus Foundation Facebook page was set up a week ago and already has more than 700 members. It has clear objectives to raise awareness of the disease and prevent the loss of further life.