Flesh-eating ulcer spreads in Melbourne’s northern suburbs
Posted On May 5, 2022
Health authorities have issued new warnings about a rare flesh-eating disease which has been detected in Melbourne’s inner north.
For the first time, cases of the Buruli ulcer have been detected in Pascoe Vale and Strathmore.
Victoria’s deputy chief health officer of communicable disease says cases of the bacterial ulcer used to be confined to coastal areas, but now it is has made its way into metro Melbourne.
Thirty nine Victorians have been treated so far this year.
The mode of transmission from wildlife to humans is still being investigated, but scientists believe mosquitoes and possums play a role.
When the bacterium gets under the skin, it secretes a toxin that that kills the skin.
Victoria’s deputy chief health officer of communicable disease, Associate Professor Deborah Friedman said it usually starts as a small spot that looked like a mosquito bite.
She said the spot then grows bigger over days and and weeks developing into a wound that won’t heal.
“The ulcer can enlarge over weeks and months.. and they can take months to heal,” she said.
People are being urged to cover their body while working outside, reduce areas where water can pool and wash and cover scratches received while working outside.
The highest risk areas for Buruli ulcer are Rye, Sorrento, Blairgowrie and Tootgarook on the Mornington Peninsula.
Health experts say there is no need to be alarmed, but if you have a lump or lesion that is not healing, it’s advised people see a doctor and request a test for the ulcer.