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AU: Victoria is in the midst of a flesh-eating ulcer outbreak

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  • AU: Victoria is in the midst of a flesh-eating ulcer outbreak


    Victoria is in the midst of a flesh-eating ulcer outbreak
    21 hours ago
    3AW Breakfast

    Victoria is facing an outbreak of flesh-eating Buruli ulcers, with a 400 per cent increase the number of reported cases in the last four years.

    Experts are calling for urgent government funding for research into the condition.

    One of those experts is Associate Professor Daniel O’Brien, infectious diseases consultant at Barwon Health. He told 3AW Breakfast that the risk factors for the disease are currently unknown.

    “We don’t 100 percent know how you acquire it and where it lives in the environment. How are we supposed to design effective public health interventions if we don’t know that basic scientific information?” he said.

    “What I’m seeing more and more is people severely affected… and not knowing how to prevent it, and I just think that’s an unacceptable situation.”

    The disease first appeared on the Bellarine Peninsula and has now spread to the Mornington Peninsula....

  • #2
    APRIL 26 2018 - 5:59PM

    $3m Vic research to beat flesh-eating bug

    Benita Kolovos
    University of Melbourne professor Tim Stinear will lead a two-year $3 million research project into Buruli ulcer which is believed to be linked to mosquitoes in spreading the bacteria to humans.

    "Southeast Australia is one of the few places outside of west Africa where Buruli ulcer is prevalent," he told the Doherty Institute on Thursday.
    In Victoria, the number of people contracting the disease has increased, with 182 new cases in 2016, 275 in 2017 and 30 so far in 2018 - and experts say there is potential for the disease to affect thousands in the state each year.
    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela


    • #3
      Possible new transmission areas for Buruli ulcer in Victoria

      Status: Active Health advisory: 180002 Date Issued: 31 Oct 2019 (update to 3 May 2018 Advisory) Issued by: Dr Brett Sutton, Chief Health Officer Issued to: Health professionals and community.
      Key messages

      • Buruli ulcer, caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, is a growing concern in Victoria, with a steady increase in notifications since 2015 in people who have travelled to or live in endemic areas.
      • Endemic areas include the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas, but recent cases suggest that Aireys Inlet (Surf Coast) and the Geelong suburb of Belmont are possible new areas of local transmission.
      • Early diagnosis is critical to prevent skin and tissue loss – consider the diagnosis in patients with a persistent ulcer, nodule, papule, or oedema and cellulitis especially on exposed parts of the body.
      • Laboratory testing for Buruli ulcer is now free for patients (a handling fee may be charged by private pathology companies).
      • People of any age can get infected. Symptoms can occur four weeks to ten months after exposure.
      • The exact mode of transmission is still unclear, but there is increasing evidence that mosquitoes play a role so avoiding mosquito bites is recommended.
      • Buruli ulcer must be notified to the Department within five days of diagnosis.

      What is the issue?

      Buruli ulcer is a skin infection caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium ulcerans (M. ulcerans) usually presenting as a slowly developing painless nodule or papule which can initially be mistaken for an insect bite. Over time the lesion can progress to develop into a destructive skin ulcer which is known as Buruli ulcer or Bairnsdale ulcer.
      The highest risk is associated with the active transmission areas of Rye, Sorrento, Blairgowrie and Tootgarook on the Mornington Peninsula. There is a moderate risk associated with areas in the Bellarine Peninsula (Ocean Grove, Barwon Heads, Point Lonsdale, Queenscliff), Frankston and Seaford areas. There is a low risk associated with the rest of the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsula, the South Eastern Bayside suburbs and East Gippsland. Together, all these areas are considered the endemic parts of Victoria for Buruli ulcer transmission.
      Recent cases from Aireys Inlet on the Surf Coast and the Geelong suburb of Belmont suggest that these are emerging areas of local transmission. Two cases were identified in residents in Aireys Inlet and two in Belmont during 2019, with no known travel to an endemic area. The risk of transmission in these areas is considered low.

      In 2018 there were 340 cases of Buruli ulcer reported in Victoria. This compares with 277 cases in 2017, 182 cases in 2016 and 107 cases in 2015. There have been 240 cases of Buruli ulcer notified in 2019 year to date in Victoria.
      When recognised early, diagnostic testing is straightforward if guidelines are followed (see below) and prompt treatment can significantly reduce skin loss and tissue damage, as well as lead to more simplified treatment...