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Flesh-eating ulcer spreads to Geelong and Great Ocean Road

Health authorities have identified two new Victorian regions which are transmission areas for the flesh-eating Buruli ulcer.

Aireys Inlet, on the Surf Coast, and Belmont, a suburb of Geelong, have been marked as risk areas.

The ulcer is also known to be transmitted on the Mornington Peninsula and Bellarine Peninsula.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said health authorities aren’t sure how the ulcer is spread.

“We think it might be either from mosquito bites in these areas where transmission occurs, or from scratches or cuts that introduce the bug through the skin,” he said.

Mr Sutton said people in the transmission areas should be aware, but not afraid.

“If people have got an ulcer that’s developing and not healing, or even a red lump that’s not getting better and doesn’t respond to normal antibiotics, and they’re in those areas, then they should see their GP, they should mention Buruli ulcer,” he said.

“It’s a simple test and it means you can get on to it early with special antibiotics and avoid surgery.

“The best thing to do is to protect your skin and that means covering up from mosquito bites and using mosquito repellent, and making sure you wash any wounds and cover up any open sores.”

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Image: Andrea Jossen / FOAP

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