Protecting yourself from the bite

Published on 11 December 2018

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This summer, don’t go unprotected! Buruli ulcer cases are increasing significantly in Victoria and the disease is spreading into new geographical areas.

People living in or visiting the affected areas including the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsula areas and the south eastern bayside of Melbourne, even for a short time are at risk of developing Buruli ulcer.

The symptoms of Buruli ulcer usually progress slowly over several weeks, however occasionally it can develop more rapidly. It can occur anywhere on the body but it is most common on exposed areas of the limbs, such as ankles, back of calf, around the knee, or forearms or around the elbow.

A collaborative partnership has been established between Mornington Peninsula Shire, Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Doherty Institute, Barwon Health, Austin Health, CSIRO, Agribio, and the University of Melbourne.

Mornington Peninsula Shire has contributed $20,000 in-kind towards the $1.5 million research project to better understand the flesh eating Buruli Ulcer in Australia.  

Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Councillor David Gill said “the Shire is committed to ongoing research into the Buruli Ulcer and continual assistance in controlling this disease in the community”.

A reminder, early detection is important! It makes sense to protect yourself from potential sources of infection such as soil and insect bites.

You can beat the bite by following simple steps to protect yourself:

  • use a picaridin or DEET based insect repellent
  • cover up cuts
  • immediately wash and cover any scratches received after being outdoors
  • wear gardening gloves, long-sleeved shirts and trousers when gardening
  • prevent mosquitoes breeding around your home.

Since the ulcer gets bigger with time, early diagnosis and prompt treatment can keep the amount of skin loss to a minimum.  If you are concerned, you should seek medical advice. 

Public information is available at Better Health Channel and on mornpen.vic.gov.au/burulidisease