Doctors WARN Melburnians Over Flesh-Eating Ulcer
Cases of a flesh-eating ulcer that can lead to limb amputations are at record levels in Victoria, with the disease spreading from coastal towns to inner Melbourne.
The number of Buruli ulcers, which is spread by mosquitos, have more than tripled in five years.
If they are left untreated, they can cause extreme pain as the bacteria chews from the skin and capillaries, all while it suppresses the immune system and causes gangrene.
The disease was first recorded in in Bairnsdale in the 1930s but has most recently been seen on the Mornington and Bellarine peninsulas.
The number of cases has gone from 32 in 2010 to 106 in 2015, and it is now hitting suburbs in Melbourne south-east, with cases reported in Bentleigh, Hampton and Cheltenham.
Paul Johnson, who is an expert on the ulcer, told The Age that cases are ‘’rapidly increasing’’ and ‘’It's moved, for reasons we don't understand, and it's setting up shop in Melbourne," the Austin Hospital professor said.
"Every year it seems to be establishing new pockets all the way round the Mornington Peninsula."
It is thought that Victoria is the only non-tropical place in the world where the ulcer has been detected, with smaller amounts being recorded in Far North Queensland.