Buruli ulcer – Australia

The number of cases of Buruli ulcer is on the rise in Victoria, Australia.

Areas where it has never previously been seen, including Aireys Inlet, Belmont, Frankston and Rye.

Local councils are increasing mosquito spraying programs while on the Mornington Peninsula, researchers are laying mosquito traps that attract female mosquitoes to prevent their eggs from hatching.

The disease causes a range of symptoms ranging from mild inflammation at the site of a mosquito bite to large, open sores or ulcers that can lead to limb amputation in severe cases.

Buruli Ulcer is thought to be transmitted by mosquito and has an incubation period of three to five months.

It is most prevalent around Victoria’s Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas.

Photo: Culex Mosquito

Buruli ulcer is characterized by the development of painless open wounds. It is caused by skin infection with bacteria called Mycobacterium ulcerans. The mechanism by which the bacterium is transmitted from the environment to humans is not known, but may involve the bite of an aquatic insect or the infection of open wounds.

The disease is limited to certain areas of the world, most cases occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa and Australia.

The first written description of Buruli ulcer is credited to a British missionary doctor, Albert R. Cook. In 1897, at Mengo Hospital in Uganda, Cook noted several patients with slow-healing ulcers. The cause was identified 50 years later in 1948 by researchers at Melbourne university.

A particularly high prevalence in the Buruli County of Uganda led to the disease becoming more widely known as Buruli ulcer.

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