Australia's flesh-eating ulcer 'epidemic' a mystery, say doctors
A record 275 new infections were recorded the state last year, marking a 51 per cent increase on 2016
The Buruli ulcer attacking a patient's ankle
Doctors in Australia have called for urgent research into why a flesh-eating ulcer has become a "worsening epidemic" in the state of Victoria. Local cases of Buruli ulcer, a skin disease most commonly found in Africa, have surged by 400 per cent in the last four years, experts say. Doctors do not know how to prevent the disease, which is caused by bacteria that breaks down tissue.
A record 275 new infections were recorded the state last year, marking a 51 per cent increase on 2016. Infectious diseases expert Dr Daniel O'Brien said cases of the Buruli ulcer, or Mycobacterium ulcerans disease, had become "frighteningly more common and also more severe" in the region.
It was unclear why the ulcer, typically found in tropical areas, had emerged in the temperate climate of Victoria, he said. Writing in the Medical Journal of Australia, doctors have called for government funding to research the disease and its causes. Patients often experience a recovery period of 12 months. Many people also have to undergo reconstructive surgery, O'Brien added.
No. of infections recorded last year
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