Buruli ulcer: In Australia, an aggressive infectious disease is currently rife
South Australia is currently raging aggressive infectious disease Buruli ulcer. The disease is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium ulcerans, a relative of the pathogen leprosy. Doctors still can not explain why the “carnivorous ulcer” is spreading epidemically.
Illness cases increased by 400 percent
Doctors in Australia have called for urgent research to find out why a “carnivorous ulcer” in the state of Victoria is spreading epidemically. According to a report of ” BBC “The cases of infectious disease Buruli ulcer (Buruli ulcer) have increased by 400 percent in the past four years. In 2017, a record 275 new infections were registered, an increase of 51 percent over the previous year. The doctors do not know how to stop the epidemic.
In the south of Australia, a “carnivorous ulcer” is spreading. The cases of infectious disease Buruli ulcer have therefore increased in the last four years by 400 percent. The disease-causing bacterium is related to the leprosy pathogen. It is still unclear why this extreme increase occurred. (Image: Henri / fotolia.com)
Pathogen is related to the leprosy bacterium
“Buruli ulcer is caused by the, the leprosy-related bacteria,” Mycobacterium ulceran “, explains the German Leprosy and Tuberculosis Relief (DAHW) on their website ,
“The bacteria releases a poison. This eats through tissue, bones and skin. At the same time it suppresses the immune defense of the patient, “it continues.
“The first symptoms of Buruli are small, non-painful knots or hardening under the skin. If the disease is finally recognized, it has, like the leprosy , usually already caused great damage, “say the experts.
Fatal cases rarely
A vaccine against the disease does not exist so far. But according to the DAHW, the disease is in principle curable, is not transmitted from person to person and is only rarely fatal.
However, severe complications may occur, such as stiffness of the joints and severe contractures, where larger area ulcers extend for a long time without treatment through joints, thereby causing shrinkage of the underlying tissue.
According to the information, these patients may have to undergo plastic surgery and intensive physiotherapy to restore joint function.
Cause of the accumulation of cases is unclear
As DAHW explains, Buruli is found in 30 countries worldwide. Especially common in swampy, humid areas of West and Central Africa.
However, why there are so many cases in southern Australia is not yet known.
Dr. Daniel O’Brien, an infectious disease expert, told the BBC that cases of Buruli ulcer in the region have become “alarmingly frequent and also more severe”.
It is unclear why the ulcer, which is usually found in tropical areas, is widespread in the temperate climate of Victoria, the expert said.
In addition, it is not yet clear exactly how the disease is transmitted to humans. There are theories that mosquitoes could spread the bacteria.
Ulcers are difficult to treat
O’Brien and colleagues have in a contribution in the magazine ” Medical Journal of Australia “Demanded state funding for research into the disease and its causes.
“Nobody understands what happens and what drives this epidemic.” O’Brien. “We can offer guidance, but no definitive advice. It’s a puzzle. ”
But: “The problem is that we do not have time to sit around and lecture on it – the epidemic has reached frightening proportions.”
Treating the ulcers is complicated and tedious. According to Dr. It often takes O’Brien six to twelve months for the patients to recover.
According to the DAHW, the following treatment measures are used: a complex wound care, the administration of a combination of antibiotics against the pathogens and surgical interventions. (Ad)