Date issued: 31 October 2019 (update to Advisory issued 3 May 2018)
Issued by: Dr Brett Sutton, Chief Health Officer, Victoria
Issued to: Health professionals and community
- Buruli ulcer, caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, is a growing concern in Victoria, with a steady increase in notifications since 2015 in people who have travelled to or live in endemic areas.
- Endemic areas include the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas, but recent cases suggest that Aireys Inlet (Surf Coast) and the Geelong suburb of Belmont are possible new areas of local transmission.
- Early diagnosis is critical to prevent skin and tissue loss – consider the diagnosis in patients with a persistent ulcer, nodule, papule, or oedema and cellulitis especially on exposed parts of the body.
- Laboratory testing for Buruli ulcer is now free for patients (a handling fee may be charged by private pathology companies).
- People of any age can get infected. Symptoms can occur four weeks to ten months after exposure.
- The exact mode of transmission is still unclear, but there is increasing evidence that mosquitoes play a role so avoiding mosquito bites is recommended.
- Buruli ulcer must be notified to the Department within five days of diagnosis.
Read the full alert: Possible new transmission areas for Buruli ulcer in Victoria