Buruli Ulcer: All About The Disease That Has Spread Across Australia

25 Feb, 2021 15:36 IST|Sakshi Post

Buruli ulcer, a flesh eating disease has spread across parts of Australia. The health departments have issued a warning regarding the same. The warning specifically addressed certain areas in the country where the risk of spreading is high.

Victoria health department and the health officer Professor Brett Sutton also issued a document advising the medical experts and residents of certain areas. These areas include Moonee Ponds, Brunswick West and Essendon of inner Melbourne where the cases of this Ulcer disease were high.

The risk of spreading is even higher in areas like Sorrento, Blairgowrie and Rye. Places like Ocean Grove, Barwon Heads, Point Lonsdale, Queenscliff and Frankston are at a relatively lower risk when compared to the above ones. Not just the coastal areas, but the other areas as well are under the risk of the disease spreading.

What is Buruli Ulcer

It is a chronic flesh-eating disease caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Buruli ulcer is caused by Mycobacterium and belongs to the family of bacteria that causes tuberculosis and leprosy. The organisms cause tissue damage and affect the immune system.

The organism produces a unique toxin – mycolactone that causes the damage to the skin. The disease mainly affects the skin or in some cases, the bones as well. It can affect any age group. Early diagnosis of the disease is very important.

Disease can occur at any age, but Buruli ulcer notifications are highest in people aged 60 years and above in Victoria. 

Symptoms

The disease often affects the skin and in some cases the bones. It will start with swelling which is not painful. That is why people often tend to ignore it. It can occur on any part of the body but mostly will affect the areas that are bare or exposed. There will be no pain or fever.

What starts with a harmless swelling can lead to long lasting effects. It can be disfigurement, disability or deformities. Upon noticing any irregular bite like swelling or nodule, a person is to immediately consult a doctor.

WHO has suggested that the early detection of this disease is very necessary as with that, the long term effects can be avoided. But if it is too late, this can lead to permanent disability.  

Transmission

It is currently unclear as to how the disease gets transmitted. It was confirmed that the Human to human transmission is not possible also there was no indication of possibility of direct transmission. The health department did warn the public to stay safe from the mosquitoes. A mosquito bite could be dangerous in such a case as these insects can also be the source of transmission.

As there is no confirmed mode of transmission for this disease, the health experts have requested people to be extra cautious. Once the mode has been identified, the prevention method will also be established. 

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