World Australia flesh-eating ulcer 'a mystery'

10:06  16 april  2018
10:06  16 april  2018 Source:   BBC News

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Ella Crofts contracted Mycobacterium Ulcerans - a life-threatening third-world condition that is running rampant in parts of Australia . A fast-growing outbreak on the Mornington Peninsula of the mysterious flesh - eating ulcer , previously But in a mystery that continues to stump scientists, the

A fast-growing outbreak on the Mornington Peninsula of the mysterious flesh - eating ulcer But in a mystery that continues to stump scientists, the bacterium has been causing ulcers in Victoria since the 1930s. Next Australia story: Australian PM says first asylum-seekers to be resettled in U.S. under

A small Buruli ulcer on a man's ankle: Victoria has seen a spike in recent cases of the Buruli ulcer © DANIEL O'BRIEN Victoria has seen a spike in recent cases of the Buruli ulcer 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% in the last four years, experts say.

Infections have also become more severe and spread to new areas.

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% increase on 2016.

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SYDNEY: The spread of a flesh - eating bacterial condition in Australia sparked calls Thursday for Buruli ulcer has previously been reported in the states of Queensland, Western Australia and New Johnson, an infectious diseases specialist, said it was a “great mystery as to why you get these

Tale of the zombie limbs —. Mysterious flesh - eating bacteria is raging in Australia . The bacterium was first identified in Australia in 1948, but the ulcers get their name from Buruli county (now called Nakasongola) in Uganda, where researchers reported large numbers of ulcers in the 1960s.

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.

What is the Buruli ulcer?

  • A skin disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium ulcerans.
  • The bacteria emits toxins that destroy skin cells, small blood vessels and the fat under the skin, leading to ulcers forming and skin loss.
  • The ulcer gets bigger with time and can lead to permanent disfigurement or disability.
  • Usually affects limbs but can also be found on the face and body.
  • Doctors do not know how the disease is transmitted to humans but it's believed to arise from the environment and soil.
  • There are also theories that mosquitoes can carry the bacteria.

Writing in the Medical Journal of Australia, doctors have called for government funding to research the disease and its causes.

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I've transformed my body aged 42 - and THIS is what I eat. Drug horror: Australia 's worst 'Ice' hot spots named. It’s the stuff nightmares are made of, and the spread of a flesh - eating ulcer across parts of Victoria has health authorities both baffled and concerned.

The Bairnsdale virus, also known as the buruli ulcer is a gruesome flesh - eating bacteria which The Bairnsdale virus is a flesh eating bug which has been spreading through Australia . Lana Del Rey flashes a ring on her wedding finger as she steps out in Sydney with a long-haired mystery man.

"No one understands what's happening and what's driving this epidemic," Dr O'Brien, a co-author, told the BBC.

"We can offer clues but not definitive advice. It's a mystery."

He said some theories involved factors such as rainfall, soil type and wildlife. Last year, authorities found traces of the bacteria in local possum faeces.

"The problem is, we don't have the time to sit around and pontificate about it - the epidemic has reached frightening proportions," he said.

The ulcers are difficult to treat and patients often experience a recovery period of between six and 12 months. Many people also have to undergo reconstructive surgery, Dr O'Brien added.

Victorian health authorities say they have spent more than A$1m (£550,000; $780,000) on researching the disease, and have started education campaigns to raise awareness about it.

Until a few years ago, infections were more commonly reported from tropical regions in Queensland with occasional cases in other states.

The disease is more commonly found in rural West Africa, Central Africa, New Guinea, Latin America and tropical regions of Asia.

In the developing world, the disease is associated with wetlands and stagnant water, however in Australia cases have largely been reported from coastal regions.

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