A collaboration between the Queensland University of Technology and not-for-profit organisation DEBRA Australia will open a podiatry clinic in Brisbane to provide much-needed care for patients living with epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a rare skin blistering disease.
EB is a rare disease whereby the skin blisters and peels at the slightest touch. Affecting all three layers of skin and internal mucosal linings, EB has been likened to living with third-degree burns. It’s exceptionally painful and those living with EB must endure three-hour bleach baths and extreme dressing changes every second day to protect and medicate their wounds.
“EB causes major issues to patients’ feet so having specialised podiatry services for EB patients is incredibly helpful,” DEBRA General Manager Lise Angus said. “We’re thrilled to work with QUT to make this service a reality.”
“The Brisbane clinic will give EB individuals huge pain relief and is suitable for patients of all ages from babies to adults.”
“We’ve had to innovate to find a solution for those wishing to receive treatment beyond the regular hospital setting and are hopeful that this new service will make a positive difference to Queenslanders affected by this debilitating disease,” Angus said.
As the first of its kind in Queensland, the clinic has received strong interest from the community with its first session on 23 January already booked with 7 patients. Depending on demand, the clinic will be held on a quarterly basis or may increase to every two months.
Dr Tariq Khan, consultant Podiatrist and specialist in EB will be the clinician working with DEBRA to deliver this service.
While sometimes it can be detected at birth, milder cases of EB will generally be discovered as a child becomes more physically active – crawling, walking or running. At this stage, no cure exists and at its most severe, life is often cut short due to skin cancers or secondary complications associated with the disease.
EB can be triggered by heat, rubbing or scratching. In extreme cases, it can even occur inside the body on the lining of the mouth or inside the stomach.
The most common form of EB causes blistering on the palms of hands and soles of feet.
Media release from DEBRA Australia. Content has been edited for style and length.