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Flesh-eating ulcer sweeps through Mornington Peninsula

A mysterious flesh-eating ulcer is causing havoc across the Mornington Peninsula, with cases of the disease creeping towards metropolitan Melbourne.

The Buruli ulcer appears as a deep-lying infection and was first found in Victoria during the 1930s.

Victorian chief health officer Dr Brett Sutton is recruiting citizen scientists to help discover more about the disease.

“Essentially (people) are volunteering to tell us where they’ve been and what they’ve been up to in the Morninigton Peninsula,” he Ross and John.

“These are people that don’t have the ulcer so we can make a comparison to people who report risk factors with the ulcer.”

Dr Sutton said there are fears the infection is spreading through possums and then to humans through mosquitoes.

“People seem to get ulcers on those exposed areas of skin where you expect mosquitoes to get at,” he said.

“You tend to see it more in children, it might be the height they fly at.

“It’s a mystery.”

Dr Sutton confirmed Victoria was the only temperate climate in the world where the disease is found.

“It is very unusual,” he said.

“We know the (disease) appears to be coastal – there’s a hotspot in the Daintree (forest) in Queensland but we’re the only other area affected in Australia and we don’t know why.”

Click PLAY to hear the full interview on 3AW Breakfast