Cases of carnivorous Buruli ulcer have been discovered in the Melbourne suburbs of Essendon, Moonee Ponds and Brunswick West, in the department of Victoria Health said – the first time that an area not coastal area has been identified as a potential risk area

A “handful” of cases have been discovered over a period of time that are linked, the department said

The bacteria had also been isolated from the faeces of a local opossum but the source had not been established

Tim Stinear, of the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, initially said it was unclear whether these people had contracted the disease at home or in their coastal vacation homes where the ulcer was more common

“Recently, we were able to use the power of genomics to establish evidence of local transmission of Buruli ulcer in these inner suburbs,” said Prof Stinear

“Yes, it is a flesh-eating disease, but it is a disease that progresses very slowly, we can treat it and if we catch it early it is not a serious infection

Skin infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium ulcerans (M ulcerans) may initially be mistaken for an insect bite

Over a period of several months, it can progress to potentially destructive skin lesions called Buruli or Bairnsdale ulcers

“If people have a little mosquito bite that doesn’t look quite right, there is a really good diagnostic test,” Professor Stinear said

Professor Stinear leads the Beating Buruli research project which he says has shown that if mosquito numbers are reduced, “we can prevent this disease from spreading to humans”

Usually the ulcer is associated with localities on the Mornington Peninsula, including Rye, Sorrento, Blairgowrie and Tootgarook

Other coastal areas, including the Bellarine Peninsula and areas of Frankston and Seaford, are at moderate risk

The disease is not transmissible from person to person and there is no evidence of transmission between possums and humans, the department said

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Buruli ulcer

News from the world – UA – Expert says there is no cause for alarm after discovery of carnivorous bacteria in inner suburbs of Melbourne