Creating a healthier, better connected Gippsland.

Health alert – Buruli Ulcer is spreading 9 November 2022

Status: Active

Date issued: 9 November 2022 (update from CHO alert 4 May 2022)

Issued by: Associate Professor Deborah Friedman, Deputy Chief Health Officer (Communicable Disease)

Issued to: Health professionals and the Victorian community

Key messages

  • Buruli ulcer is a bacterial skin infection.
  • Lesions typically present as a slowly enlarging painless lump or wound which can initially be mistaken for an insect bite.
  • Case numbers are increasing this year.
  • The disease is spreading geographically across Victoria and is no longer restricted to specific coastal locations. Most recently, there has been an increase in cases linked to several suburbs in greater Geelong.
  • Early recognition and diagnosis is critical to prevent skin and tissue loss – consider the diagnosis in patients with a persistent ulcer, nodule, papule, or oedema and cellulitis not responding to usual treatments, especially on exposed parts of the body.
  • Public health laboratory testing for Buruli ulcer is free for patients. A handling fee may be charged by private pathology companies.
  • Buruli ulcer must be notified to the Department within five days of diagnosis.
  • There is increasing evidence that mosquitoes and possums play a role in disease transmission.
  • Prevention measures include reducing mosquito breeding sites, avoiding mosquito bites and covering cuts and abrasions with a dressing when spending time outdoors.
  • Read the full advisory: Buruli Ulcer is spreading

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