The Rise of Mycobacterium Ulcerans Disease (Buruli Ulcer) around Melbourne
University High School
1H Royal Parade
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Buruli ulcer causes a terrible, destructive skin and soft tissue infection that can lead to permanent deformity and disability. Buruli ulcer is caused by infection with the bacterium Mycobacterium ulcerans. Cases of the disease are reported in more than 30 countries but have been exponentially increasing locally around Melbourne, with potential for a sustained epidemic to affect thousands of Victorians.
Investigations over the past 15 years have shown that Australian native possums are wildlife reservoirs of M. ulcerans and that mosquitoes are likely vectors that spread the disease to humans. Detailed analysis of hundreds of M. ulcerans isolates obtained from patients over the last 60 years has revealed the likely origins and pattern of spread of M. ulcerans in Victoria. These new insights from research have created the first opportunities to test public health intervention strategies that will stop the spread of this disease.