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Warning issued after flesh-eating disease discovered in Melbourne’s inner-north

Article image for Warning issued after flesh-eating disease discovered in Melbourne’s inner-north

A flesh-eating ulcer has made its way to a non-coastal part of Melbourne for the first time.

Cases of the Buruli ulcer have been identified in Essendon, Moonee Ponds and Brunswick.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton issued an alert about the flesh-eating ulcer on Tuesday.

Molecular microbiologist at the University of Melbourne’s Doherty Institute, Professor Tim Stinear, says the first sign is a mosquito bite that doesn’t quite look right.

“First symptoms are often like a mosquito bite that won’t heal,” he told Ross and Russel.

“It’s red, it’s raised, it’s a little bit inflamed.

“If you let this infection go it gets under the skin and the bacteria grow in the subcutaneous fat beneath the skin, so it is a flesh-eating bacteria.”

Professor Stinear says the ulcer may have spread to inland suburbs via possums.

“Possums get this infection as well and it could mean that well-meaning residents or people who have taken it upon their own to move possums around are inadvertently pushing it around Melbourne,” he said.

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